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Francie Hester: Installation Commissioned by Memorial Sloan Kettering


Wordfall, an installation by Francie Hester (BFA 1982) and Lisa Hill commissioned for permanent display in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Josie Robertson Surgery Center, was dedicated in a ceremony on May 72016.

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 at the University of Michigan. 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

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, reacting 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.

Taking Care of the Spirit | Art installation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center inspired by late young man’s poetry | Our Town