August 18th last year, I posted about Janet Zweig’s public art project, “Pedestrian Drama,” on the first block of East Wisconsin Avenue. At the time I went to see it, one of the five kiosks with three flap sign stories wasn’t in place. The kiosk needed repairs. It was returned from Italy and installed this past week.
It is a testament to the care of the entire “Pedestrian Drama” process that this additional kiosk adds so much to the entire balance of the piece. The whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.
In this returned kiosk, the one farthest east, the first story starts with two girls turning jump ropes double Dutch. It ends with a boy coming in, missing, and then running into the middle story. He jumps onto a couch a woman is trying to lift. The boy departs, in walks a man to help her, but he gets distracted and leaves to enter the third story. A woman, holding a map, needs directions. The man points her one way. She meets up with another man who points her right back to where she was.
The kiosk is a study in frustrations: lacking a skill, seeking rest, looking for help, trying to keep focus, losing one’s way, and receiving incorrect information. No huge frustrations, but they are the type of irritations that can sap our good will or waylay our attempts to complete a task. This may be my favorite kiosk now, and it speaks to the entire process of “Pedestrian Dramas.”
Zweig did so much research for these dramas and spent so much time working with a team to create them. A new five-times-three series will be filmed, edited, and mounted inside the kiosks this year. I can well imagine the many frustrations Zweig has already encountered, including fine-tuning the mechanics of the kiosks. I wish her all the best surmounting frustrations for the next set of “Pedestrian Dramas.”