Benj Gerdes

Listen to Cleveland!


These interviews with Cleveland residents, activists, and business owners were conducted by artist Benj Gerdes for his “Listen to Cleveland!” project, which he writes about in detail the Art Feature …in a dangerous manner appearing in Ninth Letter vol. 7 no. 1. About the project, Gerdes writes:

“The project ‘Listen to Cleveland!’ focuses on…how we might think and act in the midst of a present moment of economic crisis in order to collectively advocate for the forms and relations we would like to bring about in the future. My basic premise was that this moment was not only one of transition or possible re-orientation, but one where the ‘creative economy’ urban redevelopment strategies advocated for cities like Cleveland by (social and economic theorist) Richard Florida and others had clearly failed.[…]I took questions to a number of different people in cleveland, all of them working in culture, planning, or advocacy in some form. I was mainly interested in learning what efforts and connections on the grassroots level could be uncovered by an outsider more versed in the tourism and sports profiles of Cleveland than its on-the-ground realities.”