Pedestrian, or Walking: Impossible

Pedestrian, or Walking: Impossible

Pedestrian, or Walking: Impossible
By Brian Feldman Projects
11-22-09
West Oak Ridge Road and South Texas Avenue, Orlando FL

Orlando is NOT a city for walking. Get away from Winter Park or Lake Eola, and you’ll find miles upon miles of suburban sprawl, endless cul-de-sac subdivisions, and a screwy network of roads that funnel cell phone wielding soccer moms in SUVs to strip malls and fast food joints. Orlando is ranked the most dangerous city in America for pedestrians, and a perfect target for Orlando’s Premier Time-Based Performance Artist, Brian Feldman. Predictions of his imminent death do not deter him, nor did the tedium of walking endlessly around concrete wastelands in some of the more economically challenged parts of town.

I caught up with Brian on day three of his circular odyssey at the intersection of Oak Ridge and Texas. On one corner there is an empty lot, on another a depressing Chinese restaurant, then an apartment complex and a strip center with Banco Popular on the corner. It’s a typical Central Florida landscape, and not something you would find on a post a card or promotional website. I followed him on half a dozen circuits, and while he seemed a bit preoccupied, we conversed about the project and its meaning. Traffic was busy but not particularity heavy. While Oak Ridge is a major east-west artery, Sand Lake and Americana are alternatives and by local standards, this part of town is easy to navigate. Feldman reports that 50 people were struck by cars in the past two years at this location, and 5 died of injuries. Extrapolate this to the metro area, and it’s clear your chances of automotive impact are much larger than dying from Swine flu or whatever other scary story is padding headlines. While Feldman’s performance publicizes the injuries and death toll, the event seems particularly low-keyed even by his standards. There is no support crew, his trademark portable marquee is missing, and the only record of his performance may well be some personal notes and this blog entry.

Feldman Crossing West Oakridge at Texas Ave.

Feldman Crossing West Oakridge at Texas Ave.

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While the risk of accident is significant, to date Feldman's most significant injury on this project is a sunburn and some random profanity from passing drivers. He seems focused and in good health and spirits, and ready to move up to some really scary intersections including the construction site at 436 and Colonial. It may not be quite as risky as sticking ones head in a tiger’s mouth, but Feldman is no match for a Ford Explorer or a Lincoln Navigator.

Update 11-23-09: Mr. Feldman today announced Pedestrian, or Walking: Impossible has been postponed until 12-1-09. Please refer to his website for more details.

For more information on Brian Feldman Projects, please visit http://www.brianfeldman.com/

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