Aug 19 2011

Artist Jasmin Lim Experiments With Visual Perception


Mobius Wave, by Jasmin Lim

“I think of myself as an artist who experiments with photography,” asserts Jasmin Lim.

She has produced an original and imaginative body of work to support that claim, going back to her days at the experimental Independent School of Art. A graduate of the Visual Arts program at San Francisco State University, Jasmin explores the relationship between the logic of the camera and our own visual perception, raising transhumanist themes of redefining human capacities and human nature through technology. “The camera made me start thinking about what it is we are able to see with our own sensory systems and how perception is mediated and distorted. As well as what our limitations are and what kinds of tools enable us to understand more complex substructures. All of my works question the cognitive processes that we use to conceptualize the world. I focus on visual perception because it takes up at least a quarter of our cognitive processing, about 25 percent of brain real estate. I try to illustrate that perceptions are not fixed.”

Jasmin’s approach is epitomized by her memorable “Mobius Wave”, in which her photograph of the ocean is reinvented as a sculpture of a mobius wave. She relinquishes the fixed orientation that is ordinarily dictated by the photographic frame and replaces it with a continuous one-sided surface, in an almost tactile evocation of the endless interconnectedness of the world’s waters. And just as all these waters reflect and suggest each other, so too does the Mobius Wave involve multiple versions of itself. “The final object is the photograph of the sculpture, which is simultaneously a two-dimensional photograph, a document of a sculpture in three dimensions, and a document of an event, because it was a temporary sculpture, giving it the fourth dimension of time.”

Although many of her works are documents of her sculptures, the final art object is usually the photograph. But Jasmin has also made videos, and with “Untitled (Persona Case Study)” she is premiering a window installation at Artists’ Television Access for the month of August. “It’s about the writer Laura Albert who published fiction under the pseudonym JT LeRoy  and then was attacked in the American media after she was revealed to be the author. I’ve combed through innumerable texts from the popular media, the blogworld, zines, journals, as well as artwork inspired by her, ephemera from her experience in group homes as a teenager, and other texts that are not directly related but address similar themes about identity formation and different types of “truth” — literal and figurative. I’ve tried to show a more dimensional and nuanced representation of her story, and I’ve still only scratched the surface. But I’m hoping that the diversity of these materials will suggest to people that there is so much more to understand about her story and her art.”


Aug 15 2011

JT LeRoy & the Absolute Necessity of Persona


Artist Jasmin Lim has created an installation about the JT Leroy affair at ATA (Artists Television Access).

The right to pseudonymity  — and the right to contain and express a multiplicity of voices — is felt to be very precious within most on the expansive edge of transhumanist thought.

But I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anyone bring home the absolute inner necessity for speaking and writing through another name and persona as succinctly — and in such an emotionally true fashion — as my friend Laura Albert aka JT LeRoy does in this video of her 10 minute performance at “The Moth.”  (Sound quality is a little rough).

Albert — for those of you who ignore everything in literature that isn’t SF — authored a series of brilliant and intense novels, Sarah, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, and Harold’s End under the persona of JT LeRoy, a male teenage prostitute.  LeRoy became a major literary figure among those who lean towards hip, challenging, sexually charged works. Many rock stars — including Billy Corgan, Tom Waits, and Shirley Manson — became fans and advocates.  The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things became a film directed by Asia Argento.  Plans to film Sarah ended badly, when Antidote Films reacted to the revelation that JT Leroy was actually Laura Albert by successfully suing her for fraud.

The building and maintenance of the persona, in itself, became an art form, as Albert — among other maneuvers — incorporated a female friend — Savannah Knoop — to play the boy genius in pubic appearances.  (The story in all its complexity is too much for this post.  Here’s the big NY Times reveal.)

After the real JT Leroy was revealed, she was reviled by many leading figures in avant-garde literature in the US — some who felt personally used by the masquerade.  But as the dust settles — and after being celebrated during a visit to Paris — Albert nee Leroy may be in for a period of reconsideration and acceptance.

Artist Jasmin Lim  has created an installation about the J.T. Leroy affair at ATA (Artists Television Access) in San Francisco.  On Wednesday, August 24, she will be joined by Laura Albert for a  moderated conversation.  Info here.

J.T. Leroy website

Cool Recent Commentary on JT Leroy Affair

Paris Review Interview

R.U. Sirius Interviews Laura Albert