Associate Professor or Art & Digital Art new Media Dee Hibbert-Jones
University of California, Santa Cruz
At a time when "politics" evokes feelings of alienation, passivity or abuse of power, when notions of democracy evoke deep emotional responses and perceptions are that individual needs and grievances are frequently simply ignored, artists Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman approach visual art as a set of experiments to answer questions such as: Can hopelessness be transformed? Is there anything useful about guilt? Can anxiety fuel our desires for a better future? Can a belief in utopia be rescued, at what price and if so how?
US based artist Dee Hibbert-Jones will present four current collaborative projects exploring the relationship between affect and political feelings in communities and in public space. Each project investigates social connectedness, emotional wellbeing, methods of coping and isolation.
Working collaboratively since 2004, Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman engage in dialogues about power, politics and emotions. Exploring social engagement from the perspective of affect, politics and feelings. Their projects range widely from participatory practice, video and installation works to collaborative animated film projects. They look at democracy’s implications on individual lives, raising questions about notions of public and private, how people manage and who gets heard. Asking the public to explore the ways political subjectivity and feelings of personal disempowerment come into being and how they impact public and private lives. Their projects look at the ways individuals manage power systems from the mundane to the extreme.
In Psychological Prosthetics, (“Helping You Handle Your Emotional Baggage in Political Times”) the artists utilize the persona of a corporate professional to offer a line of self-help products and services to the public. While offering to measure insecurity, overcome anxiety, and help to literally, consume fear, the project engages the audience in discussion, critique and commentary on notions of conformity, coercion and resistance.
I-1-40 explores issues of inequality and civil rights in immigration policies towards same sex couples using the artists’ own situation as subject. The video shows the artist-couple holding hand-made signs on the side of highways to describe their seven year-long, $40,000 struggle to keep Talisman legally in the US. I1-40 is the name for the Immigration services Extraordinary Artist’s Visa in the United States. The work utilizes static, full body shots in a landscape/ environment to highlight the powerlessness, passivity, isolation and endless waiting involved in immigration proceedings, as well as the public/ private contradictions inherent in their situation.
At the other end of these experiments the artists produced Living Condition, a short animated film that explores the trauma faced by families of prisoners on death row. Collaborations with family members result in an animated short film based entirely on their stories. Living Condition focuses on the ways these families cope with the psychological and emotional trauma of living with this judgment. Each testimony is a manifestation of trauma: stuttering, silences, gabbling, circular storytelling, agitated gestures, breakdown. Anchored in hand-drawn animations of real people and events the project uses experimental imagery to depict experiences of fractured remembering, in a symbolic language of trauma, violence and shame.
Hibbert-Jones will present each project through short video clips and discussions of theoretical intent, conceptual approach, methods of execution and responses from the public.