The transformation of a bicycle and pedestrian tunnel in the busy city centre of Eindhoven with FeoFlip. With a clear nod to the electronic past and future of the city, using the surroundings, museums, people and buildings as inspiration.
Inspiration is key. That became clear when we arrived in Eindhoven to paint a bicycle and pedestrian tunnel. Eindhoven is the birthplace of electronics, with Philips as its exponent. This manufacturer was a true pioneer in the emerging years of electronics. Their aim was and is to make people's lives easier with innovative applications for electronics, healthcare, customer lifestyle and lighting. All the more reason for the artist to design an 'electronic passage' in the form of a street art gallery.
FeoFlip christened his work 'Tunnelectric' as a clear reference to the role of telecommunications and electronics in the city. However, it was not easy for the artist as he is from Tenerife in the Canary Islands.
Upon arrival, it was clear that it would take some time to carry out research in order to design something special and suitable for the property. Together, we visited a few museums, spent time on the computer doing research, read books and most importantly, talked to locals to learn more about the region and its rich history. And oh yes, there was also a gigantic UFO building from the 1960s right next to us.
Transforming the tunnel into an open-air gallery (albeit with a thick concrete roof) has proven to be a very strong concept in the past. People pass it daily on foot with their dogs or children, and fly through it on their bikes and scooters. But it hardly ever happens that someone stops to take a look at the grey and dull walls with "old-school" graffiti tags. With interventions like these, we already noticed a big change while we were working there. A handful of people turn their heads in passing, seemingly curious about what is going on with these walls. You can see them asking "Why are these people here?" and "What's the matter with all this paint?" Others just shout something like "Ooh nice!" or "Nice, keep it up! But what we enjoyed most were the people who take the time to stop, chat and even dare to ask what is in the making.
Some passers-by gave us useful information about the neighbourhood, which brings us back to the opening line: inspiration is key. With all the information collected, FeoFlip was able to put all the pieces of the puzzle together into a beautiful whole. He created a kind of timeline of the milestones in the history of telecommunications and electronics, combined with a living bio-mechanical beast. The artist got his inspiration for the E-Wanna (or Iguana) from earlier trips to hot Miami. There, he saw these capons with decrepit scales shooting across the street as he walked to work.
The other side of this tunnel deserves a little more explanation. It all starts with electricity, more specifically the discovery of electric current running through tubes. It is not known exactly who discovered this, but it is more important to know that this was one of the cornerstones of the future of electronics. A few steps further on is something you cannot miss: the gaping mouth of a giant crocodile. Some might interpret this as a symbol of fear and awe, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you pay close attention, you will see that this biomechanical creature is actually a telegraph, the first device that man used to telecommute.
After our monster from the deep comes Dr Nillo. He represents the end of the steam age, a time when everyone turned to new technologies that changed the world and caused the beginning of a revolution. Soon Eniac followed, the first device we could call a home computer. This was followed by a triptych of typical FeoFlip characters: Lady Cassette (invented by Philips), the first mobile phone, and Tim Berners Lee, the founding father of the Internet. And last but not least, there is the I.P. pottamus, a pixel-puffing hippo with an e-cigarette in its mouth. A reference to the first IP address and cloud storage. To bring it all together, FeoFlip painted reflective lines on the background and around all the characters. You have probably seen them as electronic circuits connecting chips, coils and transistors on motherboards.
So much for the history lesson. Hope you enjoy this beautiful piece of art to the fullest.
- Total area: 250 m2
- Material: ceramic tiles and plastered walls
- Length: 22m
- Width: 24m (outside), 8.7m (inside)
- Height: 3.4m (outside), 2.4m (inside)
- Composition: acrylic colours, aerosols
- Project duration: 8 days
This tunnel runs under Tilburgseweg, near the Evoluon in Eindhoven, North Brabant (Netherlands).