During the Revolution 1937, circus acrobats were hired to train RAF personnel in the use of the Ayro Wheel. During Sarah Jane Pell's 'Revolution' she is strapped to a lightweight Ayro Wheel and rolls over and over repeatedly along the sand towards – and then into – the Indian ocean.
Presented in galleries as a large-scale silent and looped projection with a haunting 'underwater breathing' soundscape, the footage is often paired with the stunning slow-motion underwater media performance Second Nature Second Skin. Both may be installed as a distinct media performance installation or shown as part of a museum-style exhibit accompanied by the two performance apparatus: the silver "wings" suspended and spot lit; and the silver "wheel" precariously positioned so as to lure and temp visitors with the desire to either take flight or chance a ride!
Revolution was performed to camera in front a small impromptu audience gathered on Bathers Bay, Fremantle in April 2005. The crew included Adam Burke, David Hocking, Kirsten Hudson and me. We filmed the piece without rehearsal in a two-hour period. It was approaching dusk. The climate was brisk, the water crisp and there was evidence of an electrical storm approaching from Rottnest Island. According to the camera lens, the skyline was a brilliant contrast to the eerie steel waters and my pale flesh. There was urgency and electricity to our playfulness. The meteorological conditions were, in hindsight, a perfect ontological metaphor. Revolution documents a new kind of water-wheel engagement.
Marshall, J., (2005) The Art of Life Support, Real Time & On Screen Vol 68, Aug/ Sep 2005, pp. 48
A number of Ayro Wheels, as used by a troupe of circus performers, have been acquired by the RAF for exercise, here the performers demonstrate how to use one. (Photo by Reg Speller/Getty Images)