Synopsis: “Wholeness includes all of our wounds. It includes all of our vulnerabilities. It is our authentic self and it doesn’t sit in judgment of our wounds or our vulnerabilities. It simply says, this is the way we connect to one another. Often we connect through our wounds. Through the wisdom we have gained, the growth that has happened to us. Because we have been wounded, allows us to be of help to other people.”
-Rachel Naomi Remen, From On Being with Krista Tippett, June 2nd, 2022
This multimedia installation explores the process of grief. After losing my father suddenly in July 2021, from heart failure, I sought to connect with other people who have lost a parent recently. This work presents fragments of conversations with fellow grievers which are supported by recordings with my spiritual mediums and grief experts such as the physician Rachel Naomi Remen. The collaged, layered, and projected video imagery is a temporal portal of abstraction as together, we question the absolute absence of those we have “lost.”
The visual and sound elements of my work are most related to collage. Be it video, photography, video projection, video installation, sound installation or a hybrid of various media, I work to transform and rebuild from existing or original footage. For most of my projects, I begin by investigating my own psychological upheaval surrounding a specific topic. Through an act of social-emotional reciprocity, I invite others to share their stories, thoughts or performative acts on said topic, which is recorded. Throughout my process, the collected material is cut up into fragments and layered allowing for new meaning through rearrangement, a rebuilding from what already exists. The combined recordings create a loose narrative that is both personal and communal as I offer new points of connection during my own process of making as well as during the participants’ and viewers’ experience of the work.
Jess Levey is a New York City based, multimedia artist who works in photography, video, video installation, and sound. Her work has been exhibited at various art spaces in and around NYC including Exit Art, The Invisible Dog, NurtureArt, MoCADA, and The Rochester Contemporary. Jess was born and bred in Brooklyn, NY where she lived until she moved with her husband and daughter to Jackson Heights, Queens- the most diverse neighborhood in the world where you can hear over 165 different languages spoken. Jess received her BA from Barnard College and her MFA from Hunter College. By day, she inspires young minds by teaching video and photography to ages 12-18.