100 Walkers, West Hollywood, a large scale performance piece by Richard Kraft took place on April 18th 2015. One hundred people, each dressed in a dark suit and bowler hat and wearing a sandwich board (with a unique image on both front and back) walked pre-determined routes through the city. 

The piece began with all one hundred walkers forming a grid in the El Tovar parking lot adjacent to West Hollywood Park. Once all one hundred walkers were in place, the maestra of ceremonies Marjorie Perloff began calling "start phrases" (see Score for Marjorie) to release one walker at a time at approximately five second intervals. Once the walkers dispersed, they could be seen all over West Hollywood, particularly along all the main thoroughfares: Sunset, Santa Monica, Melrose, Beverly, San Vicente, Doheny, La Cienega, Crescent Heights and Fairfax.

During the piece performers remained silent. Interaction with inquisitive passers by was confined to the handing out of a business card.

The walk ended when all walkers returned to their starting point at the El Tovar parking lot, standing for one minute to finish their performance.

The sandwich boards draw on various lexica, both visual and verbal, that include aphorisms, painted hand gestures, imagery from children's books, photographs of the elemental, war and resistance, dissidents and activists. Subverting a form traditionally associated with advertising (whether for a product or an ideology), the sandwich boards here have nothing to sell. Instead they invite multiple associations and connections.

Collectively, the walkers form an unusual army of incongruities and juxtapositions which inject humor, commentary, distortion, as well as glimpses of parallel moments in space and time. Individually, each walker will capture the attention of most passersby (particularly those who are driving) for just a blink, enough to interrupt daily life and shift the viewer's awareness of their world.

 

Map showing routes for 100 Walkers, West Hollywood. (Click to enlarge.)