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
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
"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
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."