Murray Edwards’ College

Cambridge – 05 April/02 May 2014.

general  “Follow the fellow” – a multimedia art project.
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 The opening started with a performance by Elke Papp. Light headed and ironic, it involved the audience. (video extract).

The walls and windows were covered with photographs, objects and texts.

window02window01There were some sticking photos & lines such as: ‘faces, phases, phrases…’. The brown packing boxes  did tell a story… It showed how hard for women who expected to have a serious career to be flexible, move & do whatever bits of work they can. Depending on skills & interests this life style works better for some than others. The uncertainty is hard for many who have to do job hunting again and again. The whole job scene is so much more uncertain than it was say 30 years ago. All the more important to discuss these things.

The corridor gallery, vaguely airport-like, is a transitional place in itself. A place overlooking a fountain, in which and along which the interstices and transitional times proliferated, bubbled. The visitors were invited to read rhythmic lines of words on transparencies. They were put in front a cross-linguistic and multiple space… Like the followers themselves

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A serie of filmed interviews by Genevieve Guetemme and Anna Maija Kesonen made tangible the idea of short permanence that  the followers experience when they move from place to place for a year, two years, five years… From postdoc to postdocs or fellowship to fellowship.

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Some visitors left very nice comments:

“I just thought I would let you know that we went to your exhibition at Murray Edwards this week. We enjoyed it and found it very thought provoking. We particularly liked the mobile, images and the written words. While I was in the exhibition I suddenly realised my younger son is a follower, he has followed his girl friend to Auckland where she is doing a Phd…”

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” I really liked the little messages on the balls and cookies and I agree with your approach on professional mobility as a value. For the generation of my parents, the goal was to get a steady job. Now, not moving is associated with lack of dynamism or ambition. For me, the place where one lives relies heavily on ones’ sentiment of internal security and I‘m struggling to understand that so many people choose to follow. Of course, mobility can unlock things, open doors, offer creative potential. But is it possible when going indefinitively from place to place and with no support.

One wonders if the condition of the individual in our societies is not precisely that of ‘brief permanence’, which would give the followers (without deleting anything that makes them unique) almost emblematic value.”

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“Your excellent exhibition is showing the prospects, the difficulties, the fatigue and anxiety of change, and their impact on individuals and relationships. It focused on the objects that make a nomadic existence in the Western world, where  all material matters take a lot of space. It also shows that going around the world reduces it just to the world of our landmarks. But it is welcoming as well. It shows that finally all is well‘, assuming the weaving of special links between the followers.”

 “It is a show at the intersection of many experiences. It’s not every day that an exhibition offers human support, in addition to the creative interest of the project!”

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