"Man on the Street" was performed at numerous locations in the US and Europe; its subject is homelessness. After 'progressive' legislation closed hospitals and care facilities many mentally ill people were abandoned on the streets of US cities.
It is on the minutiae, the mundane practices and fragments of everyday life that Ellen Rothenberg's work turns. She is an explorer of her homeland, producing a space that pivots on the inseparable axes of identity, history and geography. Her explorations are of the ordinary, the elemental - her body in its home space. But the point is, there is no space outside. Rothenberg's insistent scratching, probing, and subverting constantly interrupt the production of her home space as a terrain of terrible limits, to glimpse and even create possibilities for undermining the meanings and comforts offered by received identities of gender, class, and nation. Her work produces an imaginary, and it constructs a space from which social change is possible."
--Cindi Katz, "Spaces of Ppossibility / Spaces of Change:
the personal geography of Ellen Rothenberg"