Things We Like:Dancing,Choreographed Trash Trucks…Projects Celebrating How Cities Work.

Posted on March 3rd, 2010 at 12:30 pm by in News, Writing

Things We Like:Dancing,Choreographed Trash Trucks…Projects Celebrating How Cities Work.

Can a really smart dance company help us see the inner workings of our cities more clearly?

In the midst of the tidal wave of chatter about redesigning and rebuilding cities, it is often quite easy to forget or simply miss the beauty, and the importance of the everyday. On the most basic level without the excellent work of such people as our sanitation workers, our cities would quickly devolve into heaping mounds of stinky chaos.

But is there more to celebrate than their brute efforts or the fact that our streets and yards are crisply clean?

Imagine a Noah’s ark of trash and sanitation trucks- street sweepers, brush gatherers, the big garbage claw, workhorse trash trucks, recycling vehicles and a dead animal pick-up- dancing around the tarmac of an old runway in front of a crowd of thousands. Each vehicle and it’s steward getting a chance to show off its special implements in sync with other vehicles and an overlay of piped in storytelling by the workers themselves.

Imagine ten lined up recycling trucks picking up their containers with their robotic arms in awe-inspiring robotic unison. And picture if you will the lonely wandering of the dead animal pick-up truck, pausing here and there, mimicking its everyday actions……with the woefully kind voice of its driver telling everyone of the story of his journeys, picking up a squashed Muffy here or a no longer intrepid Lassie there.

And best of all, if at all possible, imagine the tremendous rush onto the tarmac post-performance by the crowd of onlookers to get their pictures taken with the now god-like crew and truck. And let’s not neglect the incredible beaming pride of driver, family and friends.

It goes without saying that Allison Orr and her Forklift Danceworks‘ (here) Trash Project was so stunningly beautiful and moving that seven months later the event still elicits a grin and a sigh. We really think that smart artists, dancers and musicians like Allison are going to play an increasingly important role in reconnecting and meaningfully engaging people in the making of their cities. This is of course one of the essential ideas behind A Week Of Waller Creek that Public Workshop is creating for October 2010.

Hats off to Allison and Forklift. We can’t wait to see the results of your latest work with the police (here) in Austin, the documentary on the trash project and any other tricks you have up your sleeve.

Want to see more (and better) pictures of the event?

These images barely do the event justice. In fact, they are waaaay below Public Workshop standards and barely tell the story but we arrived entirely unprepared to properly photograph the event. You can, however, find some better pictures by clicking (here).


Alex Gilliam