FAN MAIL: Jeanne Jo

DailyServing.com selects two notable artists each month from the submissions we receive to be featured in our series, Fan Mail. For a chance to have your work appear below, with an article written by one of the DailyServing contributors, please submit a link to your website to info@dailyserving.com, subject: Fan Mail. You could be the next artist in the series! (We will try to contact chosen artists prior to publication, but please be sure to check the site everyday.)

Jeanne Jo‘s diverse body of work, which includes video art, performance, sculpture, and collaborations with other artists, successfully evades categorization, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary culture. Often impermanent, her projects are theoretically sophisticated, aesthetically uncomplicated, and profoundly personal. After receiving her B.F.A. from the University of Nevada, Reno, Jo completed her M.F.A. in Digital Media at Rhode Island School of Design in 2008. She lives and works in Los Angeles, where she is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Digital Media at the University of Southern California, with an expected graduation date of 2014.

In her video series Ephemeral Interventions (2007), Jo performs simple activities in front of surveillance cameras situated around her Providence, RI. In the video seen above, Jo writes on a city street, at night, with powdered sugar. The ephemeral white text reads “When I look up from my mind, I see what you are:”, a fragment of poetry by Michael Collier. In this series, Jo inverts the function of surveillance by actively, as opposed to passively, providing content for the camera. The growing presence of surveillance in urban space, and the awareness of constant observation, has triggered a creative response from artists, most cleverly utilizing the mechanics of surveillance technology itself.

This simple but profound manipulation of chosen medium is seen in Jo’s more tangible works as well. Intrigued by the intersections of craft (specifically female  handicraft, i.e. crochet) and technology, Jo produces woven sculptures that reference the historical connections between the fields of weaving and modern computing. The Jacquard Loom, a mechanical loom invented in 1801, simplified the process of manufacturing textiles with complex patterns and was an important precedent to the development of computer programming, with punch cards controlling a sequence of actions. Jo’s knit sculpture, If a Mouth were to Whisper.. (2010), which resembles a giant cream-colored scarf, is a crocheted love letter, woven in alphanumeric code, with words spelled out in crochet knots. According to Studio Fuse art blog, the artist plans to engineer a computer program that would encrypt any text into a knitting or crochet pattern.

Jeanne Jo will be participating in The Business of Aura, an upcoming group show at Broadway Gallery in New York, opening on August 19th. The exhibition addresses the multiple interpretations of “aura” and seeks to reclaim a broader understanding of the term in contemporary practices. The Business of Aura will remain on view until September 10th.

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