M:ST News

Run the Glenbow Museum, Sunday, October 12, 2008

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The Movement Movement, aka Jenn Goodwin and Jessica Rose, in their power lycra onesies led a swarm of collaborators through four laps of the four floors in the Glenbow Museum.

Somewhere between a marathon with cheering supporters in tow and the act of herding sheep through the moraines, running the Glenbow over the course of 45 minutes situated itself as a live work of art amongst the walls and rooms of contemporary and historic objects on display.

As the swarm stretched itself out in the lobby, mostly dressed in full running gear, rules were established to follow the lead of the person in front as the route was carefully pre-planned with respect to the exhibitions. With first aid standing by, the group of close to 100, twisted and turned through the museum and ran up and down the flights of stairs with passersby often trapped against the walls waiting for the train of smiling joggers to roll by. The circular flow of the Glenbow lent itself to a vortex of sorts, as turning each corner you once again saw and heard the troop come stomping by in a consistent pace that was probably more akin to a brisk walk than a run.

Creating temporary public art works, or sculptural formations as they call it, Goodwin and Rose have led packs of public participants through the Royal Ontario Museum and the Toronto Alternative Art Fair as exercises in social change. (A film will be made about the ROM run). Their impetus is not just a double entendre on “running” a major art institution, but public empowerment through socialization: mobilizing a collective of ordinary citizens to be both the subject and the concept–if even temporarily–of our cultural institutions.

The question they consistently pose is: if we can run a museum together what else can we run as a social body? The general public is discouraged from running in public spaces such as museums, or libraries, or other formal, but inherently social spaces meant for use by and for the public. As we are socialized to “behave” in public spaces, do these spaces still remain as public domains and what is to be public versus private? Although this was carefully planned and executed with the Glenbow’s full cooperation, The Movement Movement idea can certainly grow to intervene itself into various spaces that equally need the presence and participation of a conscious and active social body.

All photo credits: Noel Begin, 2008.

Amy Fung is the author of www.prairieartsters.com and although she did walk briskly through the Glenbow, it was only by happenstance.