The place to be on a perfect mid-September day was the NEPO 5k Don’t Run. It was a series of art exhibits, installations, performances, and conceptual pieces strung along a three-mile route from Pioneer Square to the top of Beacon Hill.
The name came from the fact that the organizers couldn’t get a permit for a running event, which would have required a lot of street closures.
Besides, if you ran you’d miss the smaller, more intimate art along the way, such as Ollie Glatzer’s four Thread and Nail pieces installed on telephone poles.
Some of the art walked along with the walkin’ audience.
And some of the art involved the audience in little games, such as Encounters at the End of Hing Hay Park.
Unfortunately, the event’s official program did not list all the performers, including this dancer who worked with a twenty-foot train in the back of her costume.
(Update: Carrie Clogston’s blog Gingham and Gold identifies her as Keely Isaak Meehan.)
Once the walkers crossed the Jose Rizal (12th Avenue) Bridge, it was a sharp left turn onto the I-90 Trail. That’s where Amy Ellen Trefsger (also known as “Flatchestedmama”) performed A Good Reminder to Sign Your Work, a series of poems delivered via semaphore.
Erin Shafkind turned parts of Equality, a permanent work in the park (co-designed by my ol’ pal Rolon Bert Garner), into mini versions of the Mad Homes installation seen previously this summer on Capitol Hill.
Laura Dean and Ryan Worsley’s Flock of Disproven Theories Written as Facts comprised original black and white drawings pasted into hardcover books, which dangled from trees with plaques describing these theories dangling from the books. This work also included the Don’t Run’s only overtly political statement, as seen above.
Josh Peterson’s Tree-Map re-used audio chips from novelty greeting cards, which played sounds as triggered by the breeze.
As the trail turned left, walkers were instructed to take a soft right onto 18th Avenue South. This longest stretch of the Don’t Run was on a normally quiet residential street, where old and abandoned-looking houses sit next to ultramodern designer homes. Sarah Galvin read narrative poems in front of an unoccupied house. Behind her in the front yard, anonymous performers portrayed a dissolute man (drinking from a gasoline can), his quietly crying wife, and their grass-eating daughter.
Ken Turner’s Red Dot Genuflection Station invited the non-runners to place red dot stickers (the mark of a successful gallery sale) on an obelisk entitled Little i. It symbolized money as today’s only standard of success.
Mike Pham, clad in gold lame tights, smoked and drank and pranced on the roof of a ’50s Chrysler in L’apres-midi d’un Pham.
Another re-imagined vehicle was this pedal car, adapted from a 1982 Toyota pickup. By the 18th Avenue stretch, the pedalers needed a little help.
In another unannounced attraction, don’t-runners honked a series of old fashioned horns installed along a pipe at a child’s eye level.
Finally at the foot of 18th, one block actually was closed off, and don’t-runners were asked to run to the finish line—in slow motion.
Jessie Wilson’s You Are Here invited the gathering throng to place badges on a wires labeled with the spectrum of human emotion.
The end of the line was NEPO House (“open” spelled backwards). It’s the actual home of artist Karla Glosova and her family. Glosova has staged exhibits and events in and outside the house for more than a year now. This time, it held music acts and little performance shticks well into the night.
A splendid time was had by all.
And if it turned anyone on to the idea of urban walking adventures, well I’ve got a little something that can help in that regard….