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Issue Date: June 2013


Push and Pull


Jennifer Keirn

Would you pull a 10-ton ice cream truck for Cleveland?

That's the question performance artist William Pope.L posed to puzzled locals as he cruised the town promoting his upcoming work, a display of community strength and solidarity he calls Pull!

Over the last few months, he and Spaces Gallery have been searching for 400 people to pull the truck across 35 miles of roads while security vehicles clear the way, starting at the Beachland Ballroom on June 7 and ending at the West Side Market two days later. A projector affixed to the truck will run a six-hour film on a loop, a collection of 1,400 images submitted by Clevelanders that explore the nature of work and play.

The rolling art piece, which is part of the Cleveland Performance Art Festival, can be tracked via Spaces' Twitter feed or the hashtag #pullcleveland.

"Of course they will say, 'Huh?' It's a fresh idea," says Pope.L, who lives in Chicago. "To me, the truck is just the excuse, the reason to get together to do a larger activity."

He calls cities such as Cleveland "big, small towns" with many of the same problems as larger cities but also an identity crisis brought on by the dissolution of a great past. The divisions Pope.L sees in such communities were his inspiration behind Pull!

"We want to create opportunities for people to leave their neighborhoods and visit each other and share ideas about common problems," he says.

Pope.L is known for intensely physical performance art that pushes boundaries, such as his eRacism, which involved a series of "crawls" on knees and elbows through city streets.

Pull! is open to anyone, he says, even those who simply show up along the route. He hopes to see people starting new cross-community relationships.

"It's going to change lives," he says. "I think when you get this kind of concentration on one focused activity, it's bound to affect people." 

MORE INFO  spacesgallery.org

 

 

 

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