Documented Dialogues
| Documented Dialogues >

No. 2: Keeley Haftner & Mark Booth

Documented Dialogues
No. 2:
Keeley Haftner & Mark Booth


| Documented Dialogues No. 2 > is a conversation between artists Keeley Haftner & Mark Booth. The conversation takes place at Paris London Hong Kong gallery during Haftner's solo exhibition, "limitless future, limited reflection," and draws upon the complexities of material ecologies, socio-political affectations, and planned obsolescence.

How might the constraint and responsibility of an exhibition space allow for a further worrying of medium specificity, strategies of re-appropriation, and historical futures? 

Keeley Haftner is a 2016-2017 HATCH Resident at the Chicago Artists Coalition. Her work is on view from May 26 - June 15, 2017 alongside work by artists Daniel Hojnacki, and Chris Zain, in In Your Head, an exhibition curated by Meg T. Noe.

You can jump to a transcript excerpt by clicking here.



An excerpt of this Documented Dialogue - featured above as audio + auto generated slide show of photos taken by Mark Booth, as well as exhibition photos of Keeley's show "limitless future, limited reflection" - is below:

Mark Booth: “Yeah, you know, it’s funny, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with sincerity at all.”


Keeley Haftner: “Yeah, one would hope, or I’m in trouble.” 

MB: “Yeah, for sure, you know, I think the world is just too, too jaded and needs more sincerity. I’m, like, being in the space, it’s really a fascinating experience because the mirror on the floor, the black apple reflects the ceiling, there is a reflection of the apple itself, but then there’s this beautiful part of the reflection – the grey stripe around the walls, or this grey strip, and the sort of whiteness of the ceiling above and it forms this really beautiful gradation. So, it goes from black to grey to white, and it’s really super elegant. I think when you look at it, or when I look at it, it trips my eye for a little bit and I get stopped for a second because it actually, like if I look at it long enough it actually appears to be a whole in the floor with a levitating apple, which is very odd. It reminds of those Time-Life books, of like the brain, where, you know, they’ll have one of the experiments would be to have a kid sort of like an infant, or toddler, walk across glass, and what their experience of like freaking out …”

KH: “Right.”

MB: “... is. And so, it certainly, like it has that kind of experience, and I think what’s beautiful about it for me is that all the materials in the room are so carefully considered. I can tell, on your part, that there’s just been an immense kind of consideration and thoughtfulness of how just every aspect of the installation, and how these objects are kind of working with each other. And so, I’m really interested in this idea that you have about the plinth not being apart of the installation despite it being here, and being part of the installation, which is totally fun. I mean, I really like that idea a lot, and I also love what the plinth is doing in terms of breaking up the, breaking up what you see in the space. There’s this kind of crazy optical illusion, or optical reality, that you’re seeing depending on where you are. There’s the mirror on the floor, there’s the mirror plinth, and I can see you because you’re standing right there, but I can also see a slice of that wall, which is beautiful. And the room changes really dramatically in terms of having sort of hard edged lines of the, kind of, grid on the wall and then the hard-edged lines of the plinth itself, and the hard-edged lines of the mirror. I don't know, it’s beautiful to have these really subtle changes that occur.”

KH: “Yeah, I think geometry was something that I came to embrace. Like, I guess it would have been fun to have brought my sketchbook for you, because it’s obviously much different than the reality that came to take place, but, for me, basically something that’s worth talking about because it’s something that I’m thinking about a lot lately, which exactly why this room came to look exactly as it does, is this notion of constraint as a sort of formulation of principles. So when you come to a gallery and you have all these, you know, ideas, grandiose and otherwise, and then depending on the space, almost all the spaces that I’ve worked with this last year since graduating, there’s been this conversation that takes place at that point. You say, “I’m really interested in this doing exactly this” and they say “Well, we like what you did when you did that thing” and then all of a sudden conversation takes place also in context of the constraints of the space itself. So, for example, originally I had wanted, in my crazy ambitious reactionary sort of way, to actually paint the whole room, from floor to ceiling, all the way around, because I wanted this effect of being in sort of the space of the poem, which, for me, I imagined being a sort of twilight space. And the mirror wasn’t going to be geometric and it was going to be joined to the wall in some sort of way, and again that was some sort of reflection of the poem, and then the gallery encouraged me to include this piece and then I realized it actually related a great deal and it was a good prompt to finish it because it’s been something that I’ve been producing parts of but never like actually fully coming to completion on for a long time. So, I realized that, given the constraints and the components, that if these adjustments were made that what I then produce is very different from what I would’ve produced, but it’s still incredibly interesting …”


Keeley Haftner (b. 1985) is a Chicago-based Canadian artist who explores her own intense yearning toward non-living matter through a sculptural practice of transformation. Haftner obtained her BFA in fine arts in 2011 from Mount Allison University (MTA) and completed her MFA in 2016 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in Fiber and Material Studies. Haftner is the founder and previous director of Street Meet Festival (Saskatoon) for street and graffiti art, now in its fifth year of programming. She is currently one of the four curators and founders of Public Access gallery (Chicago), and one of three producers for the Bad at Sports THINKS to Think blog.

Mark Booth is an interdisciplinary artist, sound artist, writer, and musician. His work in text, image, and sound explores the material qualities of language, as well as the ways that language functions (and does not function) to describe human experience. Having learned to read and navigate the world as a dyslexic, Booth uses his work to make sense of his own disjointed experience with words and meaning. His art is simultaneously grandiose in scope (attempting (and failing, of course) to describe the entire spectrum of human existence) and comically quotidian. Booth is on the faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has exhibited and performed his work in Chicago, nationally, and internationally in a variety of known and obscure venues.


|Documented Dialogues > Bonus Materials
While using the free transcription tools at resulted in no usable text, it did generate the following amusing keywords:
  • great deal (4)
  • dimensional space (2)
  • good place (2)
  • great space (2)
  • transformation (3)
  • conversation (6)
  • interesting (18)
  • installation (2)
  • materialist (2)
  • tesselation (2)
  • people (13)
  • constraints (3)
  • impossible (2)
  • understand (3)
  • thing (21)
  • specific (6)
  • dimension (2)
  • solution (5)
  • space (22)
  • pretty (9)
  • question (3)
  • gallery (6)
  • great (12)
  • place (11)
  • years (16)