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Pope.L People Pull, Cleveland Edition

William Pope.L – foto Smith

We helped pull an 8-ton truck a mile or two yesterday during the Cleveland PULL! put together by internationally-renowned performance artist William Pope.L and SPACES Gallery.

It takes 15 people per each 3-hour shift to pull the truck from the east side of Cleveland to the west side for three days straight . . . eight people pull from the front, more push, while others police the sides for traffic and obstructions.

It’s amazingly easy to pull an 8-ton truck on level road once you’re moving, a bit harder getting the truck going, harder still to turn corners, and downright difficult going up hills.

Our shift had folk from upscale Avon Lake, the much poorer near west and east sides, and the way richer Pepper Pike, so it’s an exercise in getting disparate cultural, racial, geographic and economic groups which would normally never intermingle to interact. Our Avon Lake guy had never been in the Hough area of Cleveland where we were pulling (which burned back in 1966 during the Hough riots) and was surprised how lovely it was.

Not only did this get a wide variety of people together, but it was an excellent example of what can be accomplished by cooperation and teamwork . . . besides the 15-person pulling teams there were an abundance of support people involved as well as an amazing amount of planning and interacting with all the neighborhood governments for permits along the way.

As we pulled the truck through the neighborhood, fotos, slides and videos were projected onto the screen covering the back of the cargo bay featuring images of people working that had been submitted by Clevelanders (including fotos by Lady and I).

At the end of our pulling shift, we were treated to dinner by the City Rising Farm community gardens with music by the North Bayou Ramblers. Part of dinner was potatoes baked right there in their earthen oven.

It was what an art happening should be — fun, informative, positive, socially relevant and community oriented.

Plus we got to sign the truck with our names.

the Pope.L / SPACES Cleveland Pull! June 7-9, 2013 – fotos Smith

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