Photo by Miranda Meyer

Grief Objects by Laila J. Franklin

Spring 2022 Run of the Mills residency project by Laila J. Franklin at Boston Center for the Arts.


Public Performances at BCA’s Mills Gallery:

3/14—3/28 • Virtual Viewing
3/11 • 6pm–7pm: GRIEF OBJECTS | Performance Cycle #1
3/11 • 7pm–8pm: Reception
3/11 • 8pm–9pm: GRIEF OBJECTS | Performance Cycle #2

Boston Center for the Arts is excited to present the Spring 2022 Run of the Mills residency project, GRIEF OBJECTS, and artist in residence, Laila J. Franklin.

GRIEF OBJECTS is a multidisciplinary gallery walk and performance, and an invitation to enliven and reconsider the ways we engage with the various waves of grief that seem to engulf us so frequently right now. You are invited to explore a collection of personal objects — physical and digital — that have been archived in grieving processes over the last 3 years in a space activated by live dance and sound performers.

GRIEF OBJECTS is the catharsis of dusting off that box that has been hiding under your bed for the last year or the one in your grandfather’s attic that has gone untouched for decades. Why do we hold onto these objects? Why do we organize? What is storage versus an archive? How do the objects of grief constantly object to grief? When do they become gifts?

GRIEF OBJECTS seeks to hold space for grief, longing, and disarray while objecting to our traditional, cultural aesthetic assumptions of grief and the (perceived) excess that comes with it.

This performance was developed in collaboration with Kate Gow and David Dogan.


About the Artist

Laila J. Franklin (b. 1997) is a Boston-based (unceded Massachusettand Pawtucket Land) dance artist and movement researcher from the Washington, DC area (unceded Nacotchtonk and Pistacatoway Land). She is a co-founder and current performing member of Dance Farm Collective, an experimental dance group loosely based in Iowa City, Iowa (unceded Sauk and Meskwaki Land), alongside collaborators Michael Landez, Mariko Ishikawa, and Juliet Remmers. She is a current dancer and collaborator with little house dance company (ME) under the direction of Heather Stewart.

Her performance and collaboration credits include projects with Ruckus Dance (MA), Miguel Gutierrez (NY), Christopher-Rasheem McMillan (IA), Melinda Jean Meyers (IA), and Stephanie Miracle (IA/DE). Laila’s choreographic work has been presented at The Boston Conservatory, The University of Iowa, Third Life Studios (MA), and Public Space One (IA). She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance Performance from The Boston Conservatory and a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Iowa.

She is invested in the (in)visibility of lived experience, using her practice to explore kinetic imagination and explore new possible futures. She builds fishbowls, terrariums, and dioramas, seeking to create a container for the complicated nature of being a moving body in the world.


About Run of the Mills

The Run of the Mills Residency supports art that defies categorization. This series provides resources to produce trans-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary projects for site-responsive, short duration exhibitions, performances, and events of all stripes at the Mills Gallery at BCA.

Artists take over the Mills Gallery for one week between exhibitions to experiment and create a new work. Generally, selected projects receive access to the empty gallery from Wednesday through Sunday. As a loose framework, each program should contemplate one or two public access points, of which one could be a performance and the other an additional performance, workshop, artist talk, gallery hours, other happening, or additional format that best serves the proposed project. This mini-lab offers artists the opportunity to experiment and share their work with the public in a unique setting. Run of the Mills series features artist-driven projects exploring elements as varied as written word, dance, video, cooking, fashion, and interactive sound elements.


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