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The Memory Marathon

Artist Simon Pope walked a 26 mile route across the five Olympic boroughs in London to gather the local's opinions on the upcoming event.

Tarik Fontenelle
Tarik Fontenelle on March 5, 2010.

With London’s Olympic build up in full motion, and the various off-shoot projects kicking off in due course, the Memory Marathon proves to be a rather unique initiative. Instigated by the artist Simon Pope and taking on a relay form, Pope walked a 26 mile marathon route across the five Olympic boroughs that shall host the 2012 event interacting with the local residents of Greenwich, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest to help cement an understanding of what the Olympics means to them.

Condensed into an 80 minute film documenting the walk, these varied individuals, which were aged from 8 to 82, were asked to walk 400m alongside Pope and proffer their own personal stand-out moment in Olympic history before passing on the microphone – the metaphorical baton – to the next person in line. With a vibrant array of characters of all differing sizes, shapes and ethnicities it shall prove an interesting insight into how the locals are reacting to London 2012 and the build up to the actual games. Pope himself, is somewhat of colorful critter, choosing to base much of his artwork in the geography of areas, map works and personal memories, either his own or others.

The film itself shall be shown at three East End cinemas this coming weekend with an exhibition in the Truman Brewery to follow from the fifth of March. The Brewery shall have the film playing on loop during the week and a half period it is exhibiting, whilst rolling portraits of the participants shall also be displayed across several TV screens dotted around the space. If you’re in the area be sure to take a peek.

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