Text is integral to Wordfall. The catalyst is the poetry of Brendan Ogg, an aspiring writer who was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 19 during his sophomore year in college. In the face of his illness, he created a collection of poetry entitled “Summer Becomes Absurd,” which reveals the energy of youth, the wisdom of one who has met and acknowledged mortality, and an embrace and celebration of life. It was heartbreaking when Brendan succumbed to brain cancer at the tender yet insightful age of 20.
- Francie Hester and Lisa Hill, creators
Wordfall weaves together six of Brendan’s poems as a tribute to his life and spirit. Friends, family, and others who did not know Brendan wrapped more than 80,000 paper clips with his words. A new community emerged among those who shared in the wrapping, in Brendan’s story, and in the idea of words as legacy. Each participant found something unique in the artwork, reflecting that pieces of those we lose stay with us in new and sometimes surprising ways. The wrapped paper clips transformed the written work into an enduring memorial — linkages of words, random at times, but with inherent messages.
Wordfall by Francie Hester and Lisa Hill (2015)
Medium: Poetry, folded paper, paper clips, aluminum, and steel
More than 300 people across 50 states and two continents, ranging in age from ten to 91 years old, wrapped six of Brendan Ogg’s poems around 80,000 paperclips using 60 pounds of paper. They are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers, and strangers, some of whom have survived cancer, others who are or have been cancer caregivers and healthcare workers.
WITH SPECIAL GRATITUDE TO: the Ogg family and Howard Connelly, engineer and fabricator
More from Francie Hester and Lisa Hill
Francie Hester and Lisa Hill have collaborated on projects, installations, and exhibitions for more than 20 years.
Ms. Hester has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally. Her work is represented in numerous private and corporate collections including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Airbus, Capital One, Freddie Mac, ASHA, and Booz Allen Hamilton. She has received honorary grants from the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and from the Arts Council of Montgomery County, Maryland. She received her MFA in painting from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a BFA in painting from the University of Michigan. She is represented by Susan Eley Fine Art in New York City.
Ms. Hill is a fine artist, graphic/interactive designer, and educator. She is the assistant dean for the Communication Design Program at Northern Virginia Community College and has also taught at Johns Hopkins University and the Corcoran College of Art + Design. Her work is represented nationally in many private collections, and she has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. She was awarded an honorary grant from the Arts Council of Montgomery County, Maryland. She received her BA in fine arts/graphic design from the University of Florida and her MFA in studio art from the Maryland Institute College of Art.