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Karen Strong/ Romance

Karen Strong is a Brighton-based artist and maker with experience exhibiting in Brighton & Hove and London galleries. Her practice consists of observing, collecting, arranging and making. The work she makes is mainly informed by the repetitive and mundane nature of daily domestic life and the relationships within it. Currently completing a Masters in Fine Art at the University of Brighton, she’s due to graduate at the end of August. This follows a Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at the Chelsea College of Arts in 2021/22. Before that, she left her career in marketing to complete a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, graduating in 2021.

'Two 30 Year-Olds Cohabit' is a collection of 30 everyday Whatsapp conversations between a millennial couple living together in 2022. When living together, a Whatsapp history often consists mainly of domestic matters like where on earth the iron could be or who’s picking up the groceries. The interesting or important conversations happen in the home, in person, off screen. This piece is primarily about a relationship. The banality of the topics covered and the impatient ‘Yeps’ are peppered with warm moments that remind you that you’re an insider in this romantic

relationship. It questions roles within the home: Who’s in charge here? Who’s taking on the domestic responsibilities? You don’t learn much about the couple in terms of their gender, or if this is even a heterosexual couple. If these were Whatsapp messages sent between a couple in, say 1961, you would have an idea of who’s behind each side of the conversation. But, reading these in 2023, that’s unclear. It’s left to the reader and their own domestic situation to subconsciously make that call. The familiar Whatsapp-green speech boxes are something many of us see on a daily basis, sometimes continuously. They’ve become invisible even. But here, each is given space on a white glossy page in this tangible little slightly-larger-than-phone sized book.


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