A group of runners will pace around and around and around this uncommonly short course (of approximately 330m) in order to make up the marathon distance of 42K. Some people sign up for runs like this for the challenge, or to achieve a particular fitness goal; others have nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon.
“Making the mundane tolerable”
What else happens besides work in the workplace? Outside the norm when the conventions of behaviour are relaxed for a while. A ritual that acts as a pressure valve. Making the mundane tolerable.
— Adam Zoltowski, artist and curator of “Office Party” (12 Nov – 5 Dec 2014)
This particular race is a response to the site itself…a circular office would be a perfect (and perfectly ridiculous) race track demonstrating and documenting (thru video and still image), the silliness that is running for 4-6 hours at a time (marathon runners have to be a bit mad no?) as well as the silliness that is containing this 42km in a 350 metre track (130 laps, give or take)…
A number of people from the Right to Movement running club have been invited to participate, as a sort of preparation for the upcoming Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem, which sees runners going around a necessarily abbreviated course multiple times because an enormous concrete wall prevents a single circuitous route of 42K.
At the same time, this race would be reminiscent of “the rat race” that this office space once embodied; the endless cycle of getting up, going to work, “making a living”, coming home, sleep, get up again next day, and start again. Over and over. Another kind of madness…
Suddenly this race becomes an experiment in the subjectivity of time and place…there will be no markers along the course to indicate distance, nor will there be a race clock, leaving the runner to decide: when is enough, enough.
What was the point of this “good cause” marathon, we all wondered… a race in which we clamour for attention, look at me doing good things, yet at the end, almost no one would bear witness but the runners themselves? An expression of the artist trying once again to be noticed, to be seen as working hard, striving determinedly to be recognised for her passionate sincere goodwill… soon easily forgotten as a near-nothingness. All that hard work for nothing changed at all. Isn’t that what much of activism feels like, a rush of runner’s high followed by numbness and forgetting as soon as a shiny new start-line banner is unfurled, and the next race is called.
- Click to view/download Memo_About_Office_Party_Marathon [PDF].
- Click link to view video documentation of performance: “Right to Movement Rat Race – The Office Party Marathon”
More Links and info about Office Party
- “Contemporary art and unexpected encounters of the soiree – ‘Office Sessions III’ and ‘Office Party’ – London” on kelise72.com – 25 November 2014
- Watch the party evolve on the “Office Party” blog (Tumblr)
- Learn more about Office Sessions III on Facebook
- Read more about “Office Sessions III” curator and art director, Caitlin Mavroleon on LinkedIn
- Visit Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the ICA, London – 26 November 2014 through 25 January 2015
Exhibition details: “Office Sessions III” is at Anchorage House, 2 Clove Crescent, E14 2BE (East India on the DLR).
“Office Sessions III” is open to the public on all three floors (4-6) on the following dates:
- 27 November 2014: 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM
- 29 November 2014: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
- 30 November 2014: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Please note there is also a performance piece by Kelise Franclemont scheduled on this date from 11AM, “Right to Movement Rat Race (an exercise in subjectivity and space)”, so look out for the marathon runners (and maybe stick around to cheer them on)!
- 5 December 2014: 6:30 PM til late