Archive for the ‘Text’ Category

May 11, 2013

“Sometimes I eat my breakfast sitting on top of the fridge.”

Believing that sometimes we have to challenge the way we’re supposed to behave just to feel alive, Heather Jones makes playful interventions into everyday situations and places. Through performance, she explores the ideologies inherent to the spaces we inhabit and the societal norms we conform to uncritically every day.  Starting from simple ideas of how things could be, Jones develops these into personal rituals, recapturing a sense of self in the process. Her solo work makes these private re-selfing ceremonies into public spectacle, embracing the ridiculous and inspiring people to reconsider their everyday choices and behaviour. Who are you when you’re alone? How do you define your personality and borders?

“Sometimes doing something silly that you just made up makes you feel like you again.”

Realising that something only becomes silly when someone sees you do it, Heather Jones is an active promoter of everyday silliness.  In her performance Yes No, she spins around on herself, wearing a dress bearing the words Yes and No on the front and back. In high heels, she dramatises this game of heads or tails with her body, teetering until she loses control and falls.  The action is repeated until reaching its final conclusion: the artist is sick. In generating this persona, Jones embodies a state of indecision, placing a child-like hope in these superstitious rituals/physical prayers.

Given a simple problem Heather Jones finds an extreme solution – it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning… she forces herself to go the extra mile and climbs a crane. Once atop the gargantuan structure she takes a series of photographs while the tower rotates. These simple photographs map the patterns of the human-made world, the simplicity of the final image masking the complexity of its conception. This dichotomy of simple vs. complex pervades Jones’ entire oeuvre. There’s more to this than you can see, she says, presenting us with a vast array of works that encourage us to look a little deeper and see that all is more amazing than we might first have observed.

Using photography and video Jones creates new interventions, documents performed interventions and real life happenings, and undertakes performative processes to generate new perspectives from which to observe the world. Having revealed the flow of the city from a crane, Jones develops an intervention to draw renewed attention to the sky. Lying down in the street at six-step intervals, she takes a series of photos around the whole contour of a building.  This repetitive gesture, a clown-like and comical walk, a ridiculous public game, creates a momentarily poetic image of the sky, often disregarded in the city.  Conducting her procession around successive buildings, Jones compiles a map of the city, flipping google earth on its head to give us a new human perspective.

Working with groups of performers, Jones establishes new communal autonomies and ways of interacting with spaces. Through bizarre and incongruous situations, Jones and her troupe explore the imagined potentials of these spaces, creating a dialogue with the history and stories of the place. By the orchestration of a choir humming a well-known tune in a rush-hour tram, or a series of eerily misplaced bodies in the corridors of a library, by lying down in the street, or simply eating breakfast atop the fridge, Jones directs and actions everyday performances which break from the mundane and bring into being, if only briefly, imagined possibilities of a different way of doing things.

Text co-written by Matthew James Kay and Heather Jones.