Project 929: Mapping the Solar

POSTED BY: Joseph DeLappe | Fri May 17th, 2013 7:21 p.m.
LOCATION: Nellis Air Force Range

Project 929: Mapping the Solar
Augmented Bike Ride as Performative Intervention
May 19th through 29th, 2013


Project 929: Mapping the Solar, is a 460 mile bicycle ride to drag pieces of chalk to physically and symbolically draw a line around an area that would be large enough to create the worlds largest solar farm - one that could provide enough energy for the entire United States.

The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that a 100 by 100 mile square solar farm in the American Southwest would be “more than enough to meet the country’s entire energy demand.”

Beginning May 19th, 2013, media artist and activist Joseph DeLappe ( will be creating a new work of DIY durational performance which involves riding a specially equipped “long-tail” touring bicycle 400+ miles dragging pieces of white chalk. The intent is to surround the perimeter of the Federal lands that include the Nevada Test Site, “Area 51”, Yucca Mountain and Nellis Air Force Range all located just north of Las Vegas, Nevada. The performance will utilize mixed-reality (Blue Mars Lite), GPS technology and, where feasible, live streaming video for real-time documentation. He will as well, literally, draw a 400+ mile long line around the geographical area in question using an armature trailing his bike, holding custom made pieces of 15" chalk. “Project 929” references the 928 nuclear tests that took place at the Nevada Test Site from 1951 to 1992.

Conceptually, Project 929: Mapping the Solar is an ideational and political exercise towards symbolically representing the possible, physically re-imagining geographical space for energy sustainability. To map this desire – become a moving point, line of battle, contour of an idea, an edge, line of communication, measure or guide – is a driving principle.

New technologies will virtually map and allow others to follow me online as I ride. A DIY, solar cell array is mounted on the extended platform of my bicycle to provide energy for portable locative media, video recording and live streaming. A GoPro camera mounted on a boom at the bicycle’s rear will record a “third person” point of view; a second camera will focus on the chalk as it draws continuously on road, a third camera will be mounted on my helmet.

Manifest AR ( is working with DeLappe to develop a custom augmented reality application for smart phones and portable tablets to create an augmented reality documentary tour of the 460 mile route - photographs of me on my bike will be augmented with visualizations of the federal lands re-visioned as a gigantic solar farm (this aspect of the project will be created post-ride to provide a lasting, perhaps first of it's kind, augmented reality documentary of a performance art project).

This project is being sponsored by:
College of Liberal Arts, University of Nevada, Reno, Scholarly and Creative Activities Grant, GoPro, The Reno Bike Project, College Cyclery, The Center for Art+Environment - Nevada Museum of Art, Voltaic Solar, Xtracycle, Manifest AR, Brooks England and Blue Mars.