An exhibition of artists who engage ideas of homeland and belonging and resist a unitary sense of time or place



A conversation and 72-hour continuous screening by William Pope.L revisiting this country's violent legacy and haunting past

Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Performance
  • Public culture

Organizing Institutions

Slought, History of Art, and English Department at the University of Pennsylvania


Iggy Cortez, Charlotte Ickes

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

On the web

Find us on twitter at #itinerantbelong and on instagram at itinerantbelongings


100% Formal - 0% Informal

Slought, the History of Art and the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania are pleased to announce a series of events and screening of William Pope.L's Reenactor (2010-) from December 8-12, 2014. A public conversation with the artist and art historian Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw will take place on December 8, 2014 at 6:30pm at Slought to inaugurate the screening. The film will be screened continuously for 72 hours at Slought beginning on Tuesday, December 9 at 9am and continuing until Friday, December 12 at 9am.

Filmed in Nashville, Reenactor shows volunteers - many of them students from Tennessee State University where the film debuted - donning Robert E. Lee confederate soldier uniforms or what the artist describes as "the most visible and onerous costumes of our historical past." Pope.L followed the "swarm" of reenactors as they wandered around Nashville performing quotidian activities, such as sweeping floors and caring for children. Through this intervention, the violent history of the South seeps into the fabric of everyday life, haunting this city with its most disquieting legacies. Pope.L's film alternates between different modes of filmmaking and performance, including documentary-style footage, a surreal puppet show, and Civil War reenactments in Pennsylvania.

Like many of the works in the Itinerant Belongings exhibition, the film eschews a fixed diegesis and unitary temporality. This logic extends to Reenactor's extensive duration in the gallery space. Viewers are invited to defy the conventions of traditional spectatorship and absorb the experience of the film into the rhythms of their everyday by resting on couches and beanbag chairs, drinking and eating, and even sleeping at any hour.

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William Pope.L is an acclaimed and prolific interdisciplinary artist, and the recipient of many prestigious grants and awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship, NEA fellowships, and the USA Fellowship in Visual Arts. He has shown his work at The Project in New York and Los Angeles, and was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial.

He is perhaps best known for his provocative performances, such as ATM Piece, and his decades-long series of crawls across New York City, commemorated in eRacism, a retrospective which showed at several prominent museums and galleries. The Black Factory, his most recent project, toured the East Coast and the Midwest.

Before coming to the University of Chicago, where he is Associate Professor in the Department of the Visual Arts, Pope.L was Lecturer of Theater and Rhetoric at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He earned his Master of Fine Arts from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

Using the trope of haunting to interrogate national identity, Reenactor resonates with different works in the Itinerant Belongings exhibition, from the ghostly afterimages of Israeli public ritual in Yael Bartana's "Trembling Time" to the disembodied testimonies of Iraqi war veterans projected in Krzysztof Wodickzo's "Veteran Vehicle Project" to the performance of volunteers who re-stage a popular Thai soap opera in Apichatpong Weerasehtakul's "Haunted Houses."

Lastly, Itinerant Belongings tracks the continuities between Reenactor and Pope.L's groundbreaking performance "Tompkins Square Crawl," which also staged a public disruption of everyday life in an urban environment. Footage from the performance is projected at night in the storefront of Slought.

Please note that Pope.L's publication Showing up to Withhold (University of Chicago Press) is available at the Penn Book Center in conjunction with the exhibition.