pedestrian curling

2010

This project was inspired by a recent conversation about what is considered to be work and what is considered to be service. Work exists as a human activity including everything from manual labor to playing a professional sport. Both of these extremes are considered to be a form of service, whether through taking care of a need or through providing entertainment. These service providers exist in two categories, those who interface with the public such as a wait staff, and those who do not, as in the case of maintenance crews.

As a result, an intervention was conducted in order to reflect on the dynamics between service providers and service receivers, class divisions between those working and those enjoying leisure, and on the wide array of what is considered “work,” from street sweeping to Olympic Curling. This intervention consisted of posing as official city workers in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina, for the purpose of acting as a team of street sweepers engaging those passing by and subverting the normal relationship between street worker and pedestrian. As unsuspecting pedestrians began to cross the street, their paths were swept and the people “curled” so as to provide a sense of care and entertainment to the public.

Compressing the social space between the Olympic game and the act of sweeping streets allowed us to take on both roles simultaneously and therefore work to get the pedestrians across the street, much like the granite stones in the sport of Curling. The result was similar to the effect of opening a door for someone, or rolling out a red carpet, only in this case we served and honored the public by “cleaning” there paths.

“Pedestrian Curling” was a collaboration between Steve Spurgeon and Jason Adams.

To view the video, please click HERE.