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    Posted May 12, 2010 by
    mcintron
    Location
    New york, New York
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    My City, My Life, Our World

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    WALK THE WALK IN BRYANT PARK NYC

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     mcintron told me it reminded her of pedestrians walking to work in NYC, 'bumping into each other, passing each other, sometimes making eye contact, often not ... . It was real life up there on that platform.'
    - lila, CNN iReport producer

    A new art installation opened in Bryant Park in New York City on May 10, titled 'Walk the Walk' by artist Kate Gilmore.

     

    High up on an 8 foot yellow platform seven women clad in identical yellow dresses and beige pumps will walk, stomp, shuffle and make their way around each other for ten hours. They will be walking in two shifts, which means that each group of seven will walk for five straight hours, no breaks.

     

    Think You Have It Hard?

    The women will walk non-stop in all kinds of weather. On the day I visited the installation, the second day of a five day run, it was blustery, cold, and cloudy. The one consession the artist had made was to give each of the women a bright pink sweater to wear over the yellow dresses.

     

    But fear not, the women are quite happy to participate in this art exhibit as they emote their way through what has to be a tough work week. The one rule is that they must not speak. They are encouraged to express emotion, but only through body language. Frowns, scowls, sad faces, smiles, angry stomps are all allowed. They can tear their hair out if they so desire and at times I thought some of them might.

     

    The 'cubicle' around which they walk, hour after hour, is meant to represent an office cubicle and the women are workers and pedestrians in a busy city. But it is so much more than that, as the women are shown to be emotional human beings, often frustrated and miserable but still stoically carrying on regardless of the mayhem that may be going on around them or the physical discomfirt they may be feeling. At least that's what I took from it.

     

    An important part of the exhibit is the sound the shoes or pumps make on the ground as the women walk. Visitors are encouraged to go underneath the installation where the chaotic sound of stomping, clomping heals on wood floor can be heard forcing one to experience the installation from another perspective.

     

    After the exhibition ended for the day I spoke to walker Jess Whittam who admitted it wasn't as bad as she had expected it to be. She was happy to be working with Ms. Gilmore who, at only thirty-four years old, has had some important shows and installations in New York, including at the Whitney Museum.

     

    Ms. Gilmore herself was at the show, and is the person interviewed here, giving her opinion of the show. When I approached her, I had no idea she was the artist as her companion pointed out to me she was 'an artist'. She got me because after she talked to me on camera she asked my opinion of the exhibit and I honestly told her I loved it as I thought it was very much 'New York' and that I had rushed downtown to film it for CNN after reading about it on Twitter. It wasn't until after the girls came down, and I saw her at the stairs helping them down, that I realized I'd been 'had'. Ms. Gilmore seemed amused by my bemusement and generously gave permission for me to interview the women after the exhibit.

     

    The exhibit runs from May 10 to May 14. I hope if you're in the area you'll stop by and give the women some encouragement. There will be times (tomorrow it's supposed to rain) when they will dearly need it.

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