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Through the eyes of a child


Post from Sanja Benak


[Editor’s note: artblog will be running a number of pieces from students in Colette Copeland’s “Syntax of Art Writing” class at the University of Pennsylvania.]

At first, Pepon Osorio’s “Trials and Turbulence” installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art doesn’t give you the impression of art at all, up until you give it a second glance and see much more to it than expected.

Everything is placed to reflect the gradual process which a foster child has to go through when looking for a new home.

As you walk in, you see the cubicle (image above right) where the child probably spends some time just talking about his/her case with a social worker. Then the case goes to the offices, where the child’s future is passed around on a bunch of papers for a very long period of time. During this time, all that a child can do is put his/her life on hold, and just ! wait with all the belongings packed and expect the good news – that may never come. Then in court, the child’s life keeps being invaded by so many people who try to do the best they can, but who can never actually understand what is going on in this child’s head and can never fullfill all the needs a child has.

Osorio carefully walks us through the different stages of a foster child’s life and opens up our mind to something we hardly even think about. (For more posts on Osorio’s installation, go here for Libby’s post and here for Colette’s post.)

–Sanja Benak is a student in Colette Copeland’s “Syntax of Art Writing” class.