To all who braved the frigid temperatures of this Chicago winter, we wish to thank you for happening by the first installation of our collaborative project, proximity.  The project morphs as we speak!  There will be more to come, stay tuned…

Dear Friends:

We are excited to invite you to happen by our Humboldt Park apartment on this blue moon eve for an exterior viewing of proximity, a sound and video piece we have been gathering together over the past year and a half.  The piece is meant to be viewed from the outside of our building and will be unveiled tonight, New Year’s Eve, from 6-9 pm.  Viewing hours will continue through the month of January, on weekday evenings from 7-9 pm.

proximity describes moments of suspension in the lives of two partner artists brought about by our frequent travels away from home and, consequently, one another.  Movements through American desert and other climes, Europe, Asia and Chicago comprise the imagery and sound for this collaboration.

This iteration of the piece is intended to be viewed at street-level, as if peeping into our windows, by familiar folks and strangers alike.  This incorporates an additional layer of happenstance into a project built on the ever-shifting concept of home.  We could think of no better way to first show proximity than by simply projecting the piece out of our living room windows and inviting you to participate.

Stay tuned for future screenings in an assortment of environments.

Thank you.


Jessi and Patrick
This project was made possible by the generous support of the Crosscut Program, a partnership of Experimental Sound Studio and Links Hall.

 Forecast information

things are coming together; we’ve got some plans to rear-project the piece from the two front bay windows of our apartment for streetside viewing.  we’ve got a meeting in a few days with the proprietors of a beautiful home-gallery space.  thanksgiving craziness has come and gone.  other projects and plans have been accomplished in addition to the proximity piece and i still find it funny how time gets distorted and compressed into these tiny, saturated spaces between all else.  and though i spent a good 7 hours trying to accumulate enough bird footage to turn the screen black with layers and i more or less failed, i still end up feeling good… because you always have to wade through the shit to get to the good stuff.


This is how much useful footage I’ve captured from 8 DV tapes over 1.5 years.

It’s too much for a 30-minute cycle.  And still, I have nearly no “together” footage of myself and/or  Patrick.  Let the record state this as I supplement my “away” portions with some “home” visuals.

What does this say about what our lives have been for the past 1.5 years?  We have been busy, apart and probably more interested in taking footage that is out of the ordinary, e.g. “away” seems to be more interesting to document.

At least I have a place to begin cutting.  I’ve loosely decided that part of my sound will be the actual audio from the video I gathered.  In reviewing and capturing those bits and pieces, I was transfixed by how the sound seems to hover– perfect for the “moments of suspension” we are trying to describe with this piece.  In addition, I will be supplementing the audio with contact mic-recorded body sounds, like heartbeat and clothing over skin.

Here we go!

Yes, the score: a new and thankfully solid idea on how to put a backbone on this enormous, year and a half long project…  Use our calendars as a score.

Patrick’s reflects his movements on a broader scale of home time and away time.  As I pawed through my 2008 & 2009 calendars, I find that my movements are strung together by dates of significance, whether I am home or away.  We remember what these stretches of time feel like, we remember the joys and agonies of each… Now how to construct them into a space we will feel not only a sense of accomplishment, but also a sense of completion of the past.

With the craziness of spring well past us, with our annual film event Scary Movie Party 6 out of the way this evening, with both of us feeling good about using Final Cut Pro, with presentation venues having been reached out to and with Patrick focusing on making home his work, we will finally be able to focus on putting this project together.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Jessi says (with input from Patrick):

Surprise!  The proximity project is not working for us.  Any combination of delegating sound/video/movement and trying to organize both ourselves and the structure of the project has proved uninspiring and heavy-handed. Not honest.  Truthfully intended, but not honest.  Honesty is integral to the art which Patrick and I produce; and living honestly and making honest work has always been our mantra, which is why he and I make a great team.  Time to discuss why else this isn’t working and determine possible solutions.


Why is collaboration so difficult?

Perhaps we haven’t structured our involvement following our natural artistic desires.  What we are devoted to working on, we shall complete. Disinspiration makes for an uninspired result. Pushing collaboration on ourselves doesn’t work either.  How the hell did we let that happen? Also, doing a piece on separation and togetherness is difficult to achieve in present-tense while we are living it.  There is no objectivity.  I find myself taking video footage where my focus is on creating a beautiful shot, not on the content which is true and real.  I am surprised to learn that this project needed nearly two years’ time to collect data and display an objectivity in hindsight that the Now cannot construct.

Inspired by my other major film/performance project (the concentric trench) and its grinding-halt difficulties in execution, I wondered what if …  we broke it down into more manageable bits, with each of us creating, smaller, finished pieces in our own distinct voice to shove together into a whole somewhere down the line…

That is our honest experience for this project.  Yet who knows how it will translate?

Tell it like it is.

Use all video we have already taken over the past 2 years.  Stuff we shot all over the place on the good camera, the Flip, the Canon.  Where were we?  Is our proximity more about place than space?  All this footage can be cultivated into a beautiful space, but its essence is not truly beautiful.  The truth of the matter is this:  we have been We are living the suspension.  Together or apart, there still exists that unformed space between us.  For better or worse.  I think we had forgotten that we were individuals in this project– in our relationship, we are super independent of one another, so then let the work show our ethic.  Let us not try to make Art, but let the Art come from the documents of Life.

Documentary vs Document.

We don’t intend to make a documentary of our lives.  In the spirit of a confounding Pennsylvania Dutch phrase I grew up with: The milk is all, but the cream is yet.  The lived experience is all, but the document is yet.

The New Deal

Today, I suggested that instead of one person making sound and the other doing movement/video and alternating roles thereafter, that we each work on our own “microfilms”–  based on the idea of microfiction (very condensed short stories, 400 words or less– totally to the point, no fuss).

Instead of each of us divvying up the work and collaborating by working together on the piece as a whole (which wasn’t working), each of us will make complete individual super small films– glimpses, scenes based on our unique individual experiences with our experiences of these proximities– which will be edited together collaboratively. These microfilms will be made by each artist.  1-5 minutes in length, whatever suits the juxtaposition of image and sound.  Then they will be placed side by side to create the overall piece in its entirety.

The formula:  Jessi locates old footage of A and creates a sound piece for it with B. Patrick does the same, his being X and Y.  Jessi’s AB is juxtaposed in its entirety to preserve her distinct voice in that suspended/unformed moment, next to Patrick’s XY.  The resulting film (Z) might resemble this in equation:

J(AB) + P(XY) + J(AB) + P(XY) + P(XY) + J(AB)… =  Z

30 minute format?  Arbitrary.  What if we just built the piece as it came to us?  Yes.  The length will be another surprise.

As I leave Chicago for 22 days of solitude in the woods, I will be focusing on constructing my microfilms.  I’m happy we had this chat.

from memory:

the closeness of apartness

closeup video (together)

contact mic sound (apart)

similarities/differences in together/apart

AT THIS POINT, where are we?

what have we discovered?


with the passing of time how have these relationships changed?

how has our relationship changed?

we have pulled back our SCOPE

our brushstroke has become larger; weve zoomed out our focus and have relaxed our parameters

what is the TINY sound found within the grand chorus?


what have we collected?  how and for whom?

WHERE have we been in the past 2 years?  how can we compile those sounds to create our narrative?


we have collected sounds as symbols of our relationship, of our desires to connect to one another while we are apart

(wanting to record the wind turbine at the park, etc.)


need– body, wind turbine @ humboldt

have– bird wings, ragdale frogs…….

LOST TIME due to career preoccupation, entropy and the like.  how do we reclaim this?

patrick                                                       ___________________   jessi

the sound + physics of sound                                        the image of sound

sound as light                                                            sound as reflection

creating deserts in sound                                     visions of desert and lack

we are collectors

these are our artifacts

sound is as intimate as scent

sound has presence

sound has so much to do with memory

forgotten sounds– how long does it take to forget?

when we lose the context of our recordings, our sounds become new again.  we can listen with fresh ears and construct something truly unfamiliar and novel to our practice.

we are separated on film and in sound and only come together through the process of editing.

VIDEO IDEAS– constructed & everyday– not too sentimental

reenact some of jessis performances (mud piece)

focus on the movement of my costume

folds of skin, veins, body stuff

p shaving, sleeping, cooking

1. subtitles.

2. bookended by winter.

Friday 16 January 2009

Patrick  sez:
map out a sound piece
chart.  points/counterpoints

break sound piece into “movements” according to aspects of distances;
one section sounds more distant:  more reverberant, spatial, blurry, less dry, more panning to spread waves around the stereo field.

30 second nearly mono sound contact mic recordings. dry, dense, distinct, clear,,,

fix contact mics.  make more.

remember:  sound apart –  video together

add field recordings to contact mic sounds.
jessi:  id like to do contact mic vocals in addition to field rec.

Patrick already made mundane, everyday field recs> brushing teeth, first morning noises

Patrick constructs a composition sketch to describe what the hell he is talking about.

(ex.  4 minute duration- Hard left: Jessi’s field recordings,  Hard Right: patrick’s field recordings.  Over the duration they tighten their panning until both are center, at this point audio cuts to a “close section”) written directives which jessi will draw.  jessi records sounds of drawing, Patrick shoots video of jessis hands drawing.  hands pick nose.  ?

j buys ZoomH2 to record sound
p records sound with grannyzoomH4

p leaves for month-long tour on 18th.  bye, love.

over and out.

May 2015
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