AUGUST 1, 2021
This week we recognize the work of artist Jean Brennan based in Beacon, New York.
“As an interdisciplinary thinker, I work at the intersection between ecology, language, alchemy, and the body. Recurring themes include a fascination with atmospheric forces, plants, phenomenology, and color. Using the lyrical essay as method, I loosely assemble scientific research, historical and pop culture references with personal reflection, to explore our relationship to the natural world, interspecies dependency, and models of resiliency. I use design to publish, archive, and visually score projects that may include installation, video, sculpture and performance."
Featured Images: ©Jean Brennan, Performing vowels in the note of blue, 2020, outdoor installation and video (49:14 mins)
Performing vowels in the note of blue is a score for nondiscursive communication with(in) a grove of red pines somewhere in the Catskills. Planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, this stand possesses the uncanny quality of a single species plantation gone wild. Five women (a,e,i,o,u) perform the vowels through the use of semaphore flags—a signaling system that augments the body to communicate across distances of land and sea. The movements—like language, like the forest—slip between structure and improvisation. Together, we consider how meaning is constructed in human and nonhuman worlds and imagine a space for communication between. Risograph-printed broadsheet acts as a choreographic score and was provided as a takeaway for viewers during the exhibit.
Watch Performing Vowels here.
Jean Brennan is a Professor in the Graduate Communications Design Department at Pratt Institute with teaching appointments in Transformation Design, Emerging Practices, Technology, Sustainability & Design, Thesis, and Design Research. With her students, she investigates making as a form of research, community engagement, and horizontal structures for learning and collaboration. jeanbrennan.com