Mimi Allin is the Seattle artist who prostrated herself all over Mount Rainier last summer.
Now she is going to be roaming up and down Greenwood Avenue embracing telephone poles between 65th and 87th streets, for two hours a day during morning or evening rush hour, three to five times a week for five weeks, starting Friday. (Friday is the day of PhinneyWood Summer Streets: recommended.)
She won't just hug the poles (yeah, I typed that), she'll wrap them in blue sheepskin "to make them more embraceable, hinting at those fur-covered surrogates used to 'mother' orphaned animals in zoos," the artist writes. "After the appropriate amount of time with each pole, the artist will compose a handwritten letter and post it on the pole. Real relationships, thwarted relationships, imagined relationships, internet relationships, fantasies, even characters in books—will allow her to love."
The "performance-installation" is called Surrogate. From her statement:
This work highlights the artist's need to give and receive. It highlights the artist's need for an audience and the result of not connecting with one. It takes our obsession with communication (often expressed alone, in a car or an office, using e-mail, Facebook or cell phone texting) and makes of it an absurd performance.
What becomes of us when we are unable to express ourselves dimensionally, unable to give ourselves and receive? The artist's unspent love is on display that it might spark a dialog about where and when we meet. Passersby will be invited to revisit their own real or imagined relationships and discuss the need to connect.
Goofy! In a good way? You decide. Go talk to the artist yourself. At 6 pm on Friday, she'll be hugging the pole on the southwest corner of Greenwood and 78th.