Jessica is an independent theatre artist with a practice extending from large-scale site-specific projects involving mass participation to intimate interactive works.
Jessica is an independent theatre artist with a practice extending from large-scale site-specific projects involving mass participation to intimate interactive works. Her interest lies in dramatically redefining the spaces and forms that theatre inhabits and in bringing artists and non-artists together to create unusual experiences.
Jessica’s recent projects include PASSENGER, which framed the landscape as a film with its audience aboard a moving bus, THE EDGE OF US, permanent outdoor light galleries installed in five tiny towns, and I SEE YOU LIKE THIS, where children art direct bizarre photo-portraits of their parent.
Jessica will explore how children from a diverse range of backgrounds 'tune in' to landscape and what creative forms will enable their perceptions to be experienced by an adult audience. She wants to understand more about the potential of the ‘journeying audience’ and the building of a 'theatre of place’. Her explorations will include children’s mapping, orienteering, geo-location and RFID triggering, hunts, buses and unpowered vehicles. She will partner with Aboriginal anthropologist Suzi Hutchings, industrial designer Ben Paul, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Artplay for the project.
What does being awarded a Creators Fund grant mean to you?
This grant comes as recognition and endorsement - of a significant enough track record and of a shift in practice that is relevant and interesting enough to garner support in a competitive field. Being awarded a grant that is not linked to a tangible product-based outcome is a sweet thing. It has given me confidence to research new thematics and forms linked to this new direction in my practice. It also forces me to drop out of my grant-development-grant-outcome habit and enter a deeper creative space. It feels like it will help me shift into the next stage in my art practice and career.
How important is 'time' to you, as an artist/creative professional?
To survive as an independent artist (and a mother) in the Australian arts landscape, I have had to marry the creative and the strategic sides of myself. This is a strength because both ways of thinking benefit each other. However, often my time Is filled up with business and strategic tasks. This grant gives me permission and more calendar space to take time to deepen the artist in myself - something I feel I need in order to grow. Time enables me to operate in a more intuitive way so that I don’t have to hone down an expected outcome too soon, rather I can meander into new territory. It will also enable me to create a network of new creative and conversation partners - and have long conversations!
What are you most looking forward to over the months ahead?
Reading, spending time really listening to children, finding different creative capacities within myself, and learning from experts in other fields such as anthropology and social geography.
Where would like to see yourself at the end of this process? How do you anticipate your career will develop as a result?
I hope to have strengthened my understanding of different perspectives on landscape, and developed the artistic framework for a new project, Topographer. I have always created diverse forms of projects and this time will help me to bring some of those threads together. I also will use the grant to develop traction for a series of new opportunities in places I haven't looked before.