TUNNELECTRIC - Rejuvenating public spaces with art
The transformation and renovation of a biker and pedestrian tunnel near the busy city center of Eindhoven with FeoFlip. A big reference to the city’s history and future of electronics, inspired by the surroundings, museums, people and buildings.
Inspiration is key. This message was made clear to us again when we arrived in Eindhoven to paint a bikers and pedestrian tunnel with FeoFlip. Eindhoven is one of the cradles of electronics thanks to a company called Philips, a pioneer on the market in earlier days. Their focus is and has been on making people’s lives better by innovations in electronics, healthcare, consumer lifestyle and lighting. All the more reason for the artist to create an ‘electronic passage’ and street art gallery in one.
FeoFlip chose the name ‘Tunnelectric’, as a link to telecommunications, electronics and other related novelties. However, being miles away from the subject (our artist is from Tenerife, the Canary Islands) isn’t really everything you could wish for.
Once arrived, it was crystal clear to him that he had to go investigate in order to create something special and fitting for this object. Together we visited museums, sat behind the computer to do research, opened books, and above all, talked with the people to get to know more about the region and its rich history. Not to mention that there was a giant UFO-building from the sixties 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 by daily on foot with their dogs or kids, and fly through on their bikes and scooters. But it’s hardly ever the case that someone stops to take a look at the grey and boring walls with “old-school” graffiti tags. With interventions such as these, we already noticed a great change while we were working there. A handful of people turn their head while passing by, seemingly curious to what is going on with these walls. You can see that they are asking themselves “Why are these people here?” and “What’s going on with all that paint?” Others just shout something like ‘Ooh nice!’ or ‘Pretty, keep up the good work!’ Nevertheless, what we enjoyed the most is people who take their time to stop, have a chat and even dare to ask what’s in the making.
Some of them even gave us some valuable information about the area, what brings us back to our opening line: ‘inspiration is key’. With all the knowledge gathered, FeoFlip was able to puzzle his gallery together into a whole, creating something similar to a timeline of important steps in the history of telecommunication and electronics combined with a vibrantly looking bio mechanical animal. This creature is called the E-Wanna (or Iguana), inspired by his previous trip to the hot and sunny city of Miami. Here he saw these rascals with saturated scales shooting over the streets while walking to work.
The other side of this tunnel requires some more explanation. It all starts with electricity, more specifically the discovery of electrical current running through tubes. It isn’t exactly known who discovered this, but it’s more important to know that this was one of the building blocks for the future of electronics. A few steps further is something you cannot miss: the gaping mouth of a giant crocodile. Some might interpret this as a symbol for fear and awe, but nothing is less true. Those who pay attention see that this bio mechanical creature is actually a telegraph, the first device humans used tele-communicate.
Next to our monster from the deep is Dr. Nillo. He represents the end of the steam era, a time when all turned to new technologies that transformed the world and caused the beginning of a revolution. Soon followed Eniac, the first device we could call a home computer. A triptych of typical FeoFlip characters comes after: Lady Cassette (invented by Philips), the first mobile phone, and Tim Berners Lee, the founder and father of the internet. And last but not least is the I.P. pottamus, a pixel-puffing hippo with an e-cig in his mouth. A reference to the first IP-address and cloud storage. To bring everything together, FeoFlip painted light reflecting lines on the background and around all the characters. You’ve probably seen them before as electronic circuits that connect chips, coils and transistors on motherboards.
So much for the history lesson, kids. We hope you will enjoy this work of art!
About the artist
This tunnel is located under the Tilburgseweg, close to the Evoluon in Eindhoven, Noord Brabant (The Netherlands)
Thanks to the city of Eindhoven for giving us this opportunity, and special thanks to Giulia from https://www.blocal-travel.com/