Placing Orwell 1

Placing Orwell 1 1.1

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Description: George Orwell's 1933 memoir- 'Down and Out in Paris and London' is a first hand account of living on the breadline in Paris and as a tramp on the margins in London.  Eighty years later in 2013, the Action Researcher/Performer noted similar scenes on the streets of Paris as had been written about so many year ago.  Resting on cardboard, wrapped in sleeping bags, hidden in tents, or sheltering in the now disused transparent glass public phone booths dotted across the city, the homeless population is significant and in sight.  Of particular note were the scenes of families (often with three young children) sleeping in phone booths with blankets, a mother reading story-books before nightfall.  The Action Researcher/Performer bought three grey felt pieces of fabric (normally used to protect household objects when moving house), which were already cut to blanket size and shape.  Three notable quotes from Orwell's novel were selected and these texts cut out of red felt and adhered to the grey fabric.  These blankets with the attached quotes were then placed into public phone booths across the city of Paris.  In London the letters of corresponding Orwell quotes were cut from black felt and adhered to a light brown hessian fabric, the completed piece then placed in iconic red public telephone booths in the city.

Orwell, G. (2003) Down and Out in Paris and London, London: Penguin Books.

© Astra Howard 2014