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I was a thing (the poet objects) with Mosab Abu Toha, 2018, poet object and plinth, in Passion for Freedom Fest 2018, London

as seen in 10th anniversary Passion for Freedom Festival 2018, Royal Opera Arcade Gallery, London. From 1-12 October 2018.

Kelise Franclemont and Mosab Abu Toha, ‘I was a thing (the poet objects)’, 2018, poet object and plinth, in Passion for Freedom Festival 2018, London. Photo credit Kelise Franclemont.

A mysterious black cube-shaped poet-object slowly extrudes a long strip of paper that gathers in a growing pile. The text contains poems, one-line reports, and other thoughts by Mosab Abu Toha, a poet in Gaza. Every now and then, another few lines of text come out as Abu Toha shares his poetry and prose with UK viewers real-time via the Internet, even while remaining entrapped in Gaza City, presuming of course, electricity supply is available to his neighbourhood.


About

“I was a thing” is collaborative effort between British-American artist Kelise Franclemont and Gazan poet Mosab Abu Toha.

Mosab Abu Toha is an author, English teacher, and founder/director of the Library and Bookshop for Gaza, a project which gained international support through a humble crowd-funding appeal, resulting in a growing library of English, Arabic, and other volumes made available to the Gazan public. Along with the hundreds of books and periodicals, Abu Toha and his small staff offer a range of English classes, creative writing and literature clubs, and other activities.

Kelise Franclemont is a visual storyteller offering objects or experiences about remembering and identity, often considering the immutable line between Other and Self. In the making, she will often appropriate materials, objects, or other more ephemeral cultural artefacts such as ritual, using documentary tactics to remake these artefacts into a new narrative, or into a newly-contrived situation based on some truth, allowing the viewer to discover truths of his or her own.

Links

  • About Passion for Freedom Festival 2018 – 10th anniversary festival, exhibition, and awards event “…dedicated to shared values of free expression, and the power of art to inspire, awaken and shake the world”. From 1st – 12th October 2018.Click to view/download more info:
      
  • About Library for GazaSince 2017, offering  “…a safe space for people to meet and exchange ideas and experiences [with] books lending, reading section, study halls, meeting room, children’s activities, along with seminars and organised lectures delivered by international guests…” 

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‘Automatic Running (drawings between my feet and my smartphone)’, 2016, digital drawings (slideshow)

At first glance, this is simply a different way of drawing, in which I am performing the act of drawing, but not making the marks with my hands, but rather with my feet. I.e, By carrying a smartphone whilst exercising, through use of an app called Nike+Running, I create a recording of the activity – the route, the distance run, and the time elapsed from start to finish. Thus, the running activity is recorded as a line drawing superimposed over the satellite imagery of the location.

I made the gesture, the movement with my body, and Nike+Running software made the mark.

At another level, these drawings question the agency and intention: who really is the author here?

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These abstract images are also about recording and memory in that, much like marks on paper, these digital drawings are the only record of my having been there at that moment, in that place. But wait… current technology and insta-culture allows another means to state “I was Here”… through a smart phone and social media.

Symbols begin to emerge from abstract shapes, asserting themselves with hashtags…suggesting a deeper meaning, they try to become something more than just the length of a line… a starting point, an ending point, a shape, an object, an animal…


More links and information

 

Have a look at the digital slideshow of the Instagram drawings on Vimeo [6:19 minutes, looped] – as displayed on an iPhone 6/6s

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‘A Walk through Palestine (collectable, artefact, relic, souvenir)’, 2015, installation

This small stone was once part of pleasing mathematics in tessellated patterns… a fan, a leaf, a flower. It remained in that belonging for nearly 2000 years until one day, it was dislocated from its home. In this instant, this fragment was transformed from artefact into another kind of ruin. A relic, this souvenir now belongs to no more than a memory, a resurrected existence in minutes and megabytes, and thus has become something much easier to destroy and to forget.

Even the photos we take on our smartphones, stolen memories are remade to suit our own histories.

As seen in:  

MA Fine Art Postgraduate Summer Show 2015

at Chelsea College of Arts, London

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More links and info about the MA Fine Art Summer Show

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Dreams of the Rat Race 2 (No Exit), 2014, projected video installation

Kelise Franclemont, still from 'Dreams of the Rat Race 2 (No Exit)', 2014, projected video, duration 15mins (looped), in 'Office Party' as part of 'Office Sessions III', East India docks, London. Photo credit Kelise Franclemont.
Kelise Franclemont, still from ‘Dreams of the Rat Race 2 (No Exit)’, 2014, projected video, duration 15mins (looped), in ‘Office Party’ as part of ‘Office Sessions III’, East India docks, London. Photo credit Kelise Franclemont.

This is the second version of “Dreams of the Rat Race 2 (No Exit)”, a short looping video [15:03] in which I engage with this office space as my memory of my own prior office career… That 20 years always felt like kind of a trap, or like Sartre’s “no exit”… The viewer can be part of this nightmare; as they stand in front of the projection, their shadow becomes included in the memory of that former life…around and around never really getting anywhere… this time, there is a running course marked in the circuit of approximately 330m. The viewer goes ’round and ’round and occasionally, another runners appear in the frame.

More Links and info about Office Party

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
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Right to Movement Rat Race – Office Party Marathon

Kelise Franclemont, documentation of performance, 'Right to Movement Rat Race - Office Party Marathon', 2014, performance, duration varies. Pictured (l-r): Adam Zoltowski, Kelise Franclemont, Jonathan Slaughter. Image courtesy the artist. Photo credit Thomas Butler.
Kelise Franclemont, documentation of performance, ‘Right to Movement Rat Race – Office Party Marathon’, 2014, performance, duration varies. Pictured (l-r): Adam Zoltowski, Kelise Franclemont, Jonathan Slaughter. Image courtesy the artist. Photo credit Thomas Butler.

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)…

Kelise Franclemont, documentation of performance, 'Right to Movement Rat Race - Office Party Marathon', 2014, performance, duration varies. Pictured (l-r): Kelise Franclemont, Jonathan Slaughter. Image courtesy the artist. Photo credit Thomas Butler.
Kelise Franclemont, documentation of performance, ‘Right to Movement Rat Race – Office Party Marathon’, 2014, performance, duration varies. Pictured (l-r): Kelise Franclemont, Jonathan Slaughter. Image courtesy the artist. Photo credit Thomas Butler.

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.

Kelise Franclemont, documentation of performance, 'Right to Movement Rat Race - Office Party Marathon', 2014, performance, duration varies. Image courtesy the artist. Photo credit Thomas Butler.
Kelise Franclemont, documentation of performance, ‘Right to Movement Rat Race – Office Party Marathon’, 2014, performance, duration varies. Image courtesy the artist. Photo credit Thomas Butler.

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…

Kelise Franclemont, documentation of performance, 'Right to Movement Rat Race - Office Party Marathon', 2014, performance, duration varies. Pictured (l-r): Adam Zoltowski, Kelise Franclemont. Image courtesy the artist. Photo credit Thomas Butler.
Kelise Franclemont, documentation of performance, ‘Right to Movement Rat Race – Office Party Marathon’, 2014, performance, duration varies. Pictured (l-r): Adam Zoltowski, Kelise Franclemont. Image courtesy the artist. Photo credit Thomas Butler.

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.

Kelise Franclemont, documentation of performance, 'Right to Movement Rat Race - Office Party Marathon', 2014, performance, duration varies. Pictured (l-r): Adam Zoltowski, Nalini Thapen. Image courtesy the artist. Photo credit Thomas Butler.
Kelise Franclemont, documentation of performance, ‘Right to Movement Rat Race – Office Party Marathon’, 2014, performance, duration varies. Pictured (l-r): Adam Zoltowski, Nalini Thapen. Image courtesy the artist. Photo credit Thomas Butler.

More Links and info about Office Party

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
Kelise Franclemont, documentation of performance, 'Right to Movement Rat Race - Office Party Marathon', 2014, performance, duration varies. Pictured (l-r): Jonathan Slaughter, Kelise Franclemont, Robin, Nalini Thapen. Image courtesy the artist. Photo credit Thomas Butler.
Kelise Franclemont, documentation of performance, ‘Right to Movement Rat Race – Office Party Marathon’, 2014, performance, duration varies. Pictured (l-r): Jonathan Slaughter, Kelise Franclemont, Robin, Nalini Thapen. Image courtesy the artist. Photo credit Thomas Butler.
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Contemporary art and unexpected encounters of the soiree – ‘Office Sessions III’ and ‘Office Party’ – London

Public blog post about “Office Party” which mentions also my performance piece on Sunday 30 November, the “Office Party Rat Race”. The image in this photo is from “Dreams of the Rat Race (No Exit)” – a projected video work, duration 2:23 (looped).

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‘taxi driver dialogue, on highway 1, halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv’, installation for BA Summer Show 2013

From ‘Taxi Driver Dialogue’, 2013, audio and installation, 30 minutes, in 2013 BA Summer Show at Chelsea College of Arts, London. Image courtesy Kelise Franclemont.
From ‘Taxi Driver Dialogue’, 2013, audio and installation, 30 minutes, in 2013 BA Summer Show at Chelsea College of Arts, London. Image courtesy Kelise Franclemont.

‘taxi driver dialogue, on Highway 1 halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv’

2013, installation and digital audio with subtitles, duration 00:30:00 minutes

The listener becomes the conveyor of an unlikely conversation between two taxi drivers that starts and ends somewhere between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and back again.

Watch an excerpt on Vimeo (with subtitles): Chapter 1: Borders and Checkpoints

More links and information about ‘taxi driver dialogue’:

 

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