From the Heart(land)

From the Heart(land)

Since I’m living out here in Iowa and most of you are somewhere in my favorite part of the U.S.–that is, the west coast–I thought I’d bring you something fresh from the farmlands out here. Something special that we have going on in our very own town of Iowa City. It’s an artist collective, comprised of various locals–some who have since moved and are living in the likes of Croatia and Michigan–who call themselves The Moving Crew. Instead of focusing on some big-name artists who have made a difference out in the “art world”, I’d like to feature something a little more akin to some of the ideas that are at the core of the Holland Project.

This group of artists are intensely creative and open to ideas and collaboration from all kinds of places. They are serious about getting involved in the community and making it fun. The Moving Crew is an amorphous art colletive working on enlivening the public sphere. Not quite theater, not quite performance, not quite circus, not quite gallery art, not run-of-the-mill, The Moving Crew thinks of themselves as cultural animators hoping to engage the public in fun interactive art activities that surround ideas of community, movement and transformation.

Examining both humorous and serious issues on local and global scales, The Moving Crew playfully filters them through their sensibilities of profound absurdity. The Moving Crew invites the public to look at things from unusual vantage points and to join in the fun and play of making things. Through the use of inexpensive or found objects and materials, The Moving Crew hopes to invite people into a new space where the normal rules of the world do not quite apply and where the public is welcome to collaborate.

“The Moving Crew art collective believes in a constant exchange of critical, confusing, exciting, or redundant thoughts on transition, transformation and transfer-mation of persons, places and things, both locally and globally.”

I had the pleasure of participating in one of their events last year–The Boat Parade–and it was an experience not to forget. The Moving Crew launched a regatta of hand-made cardboard boats, ships, and canoes with the help of participating public. All sightseers, vacationers, pirates, pleasure cruisers, colonizers, conquistadors, explorers, warriors, refugees, nomads, shipwreck survivors, captains, sailors, navy soldiers, drifters, fishermen and other boat experts (basically anyone who wanted to join the parade) were invited to join in, assemble boats in the pedmall in downtown Iowa City and participate in moving them around the city, inventing their own boat narrative. Messages were collected in a large bottle on the spot and by mail or e-mail during and prior to the event.

For another event, titled Passport Home, The Moving Crew created passports for all participants and set up stations, lands, countries, and experiences for visitors to cross through and participate in. Each station they visited put a stamp in their passport. The passports were good for “continuous travel towards home–across all borders.”