Kelley O'Brein

production by Kelley O'Brein
USA, 2015
time: 14' 07''

Located in the Payatas B area, a local NGO runs a daily after school program that provides supplementary education for the children of the community. The emphasis of the program is on alternative learning methods and critical thinking, they encourage children not just to learn and memorize but how to think for themselves. A major goal of the program is to support children’s creativity and develop their individuality. At the end of each session there is time provided for the children to share their thoughts on anything with the group. Uncensored and encouraged to express anything they might be feeling the results are often mixed. Ranging from “My sister is mean and doesn’t share her Coke with me,” to “My favorite game is Monopoly,” these expressions and opinions provide insight into the lives of children living in Payatas.

I recorded these “sharing time” sessions in an effort to collect several hours worth of thoughts and expressions of Payatas youth to be streamed through a website devoted to the project and a radio broadcast during the month of February. The unique perspective of the unrestricted streams of consciousness these children contribute to an awareness of the conditions of lives in Payatas. The recordings allow access into the immediate thoughts and concerns of a marginalized community and culture, mapping the individual lived experience of the child in the intangible context of their current social relations. It further explores the relationship between the child’s conscious thoughts and feelings and the physical space created by the layers of accessibility and community from that of the NGO center and the informal settlement of Payatas to the larger arts community and the World Wide Web. ('Sharing Time' Website)

Capitalism, individual experience, and systems intertwine to form the core of my work; more speci cally I look for the ways in which they play off one another. My research-based practice takes the form of aesthetic performances such as: radio broadcasts, creation myths, and historic monuments, which offer a glimpse into the uid nature of personal and collective experiences across de ned spaces. Pontiac, Michigan and Payatas, Philippines become stages on which I use actions and installations to examine the effects of historical and political actions on contemporary cultural heri- tage. Throughout my work, storytelling is used as a device to comprehend our position within the social phenomenon of global capitalism. In my piece, The Growth of the Mountain, I use the structure of myths attempt to understand the unfathomable: how a once beautiful valley came to be one of the worlds largest land lls surrounded by individuals trying to survive off of the waste of others. The oral histories created through individual connections formed with these communities become concept-driven collaborations that are critical of and perhaps antagonistic toward the political, historical, and economic systems that we are entrenched within. With training in architecture and design, my work fo- cuses on the death and rebirth of cities and social movements, speaking of that which we may never truly understand, in hopes of giving meaning to our environments. 


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