WomenCinemakers // Special Edition

Page 26

Women Cinemakers meets

Jojo Taylor Jojo is a multi disciplinary artist predominately working in film, performance, sound and singing. She is drawn to that which is encountered as mysterious. A common link and driving force in her work is her obsession with keeping things alive by uncovering, resurrecting or immortalising them, whether that involves preserving a memory, a story or a belief. The main focus of her research is altered states of consciousness, including hallucinations, seizures, out of body experiences, hysterics and grief. Her work is shaped by the unique stories and interviews she collects, as she re-imagines these characters and stories and their intense emotions into art works. The resulting work attempts to magnify the sometimes bizarre nature of these events in a fragmented narrative, often possessing a dreamscape quality. Sound plays a major role in her practice. She composes melodies, writes lyrics, expresses narrative through voiceovers, uses looping pedals, ‘plays’ objects and body parts and collaborates with musicians. Jojo is interested in the power of the scream: The mouth as an amplifier for any emotion to come out and affect others, through a performative act. She herself is utilised as an instrument by other performers, as she pushes her vocal techniques to their limits At times the vocals are distorted as she is slapped around the face and voice box to change the vocal sounds and create a new language. She travels through and activates the space-holding onto notes to the point where her body reacts, discovering how far she can extend herself physically. Jojo directs films and designs and makes costumes, masks, props and sculptures for them. She uses film because it allows her to incorporate a wide range of methods in one piece of work. For Jojo, performance, sound and film have the ability to bring stories ‘alive’ more faithfully than other medium because she feels they capture the nature of the human condition. Costumed characters feature alongside sped up voiceovers in some of her films, to create a strange quality, that sits somewhere between childhood and adulthood. Fantastical costumes have become a hallmark of her work and she favours unusual aspects of a building or location sometimes playing sound pieces within a stairwell to transform the space, recognising that sound can be more visual than something which is meant to be looked at. Jojo is intrigued by the psychological impact of sound and for its ability to make familiar places unfamiliar and vice versa. She attempts to harness its affective qualities within her work. Her work explores how situations can be unpredictable and all encompassing, bringing the private emotions and sounds of past events into the public realm.

An interview by Francis L. Quettier and Dora S. Tennant womencinemaker@berlin.com

Open Day is a stimulating experimental film by London based filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist Jojo Taylor:

inquiring into the relationship between our inner sphere and the outside reality, she demonstrates the ability to capture the subtle depths of emotions. This captivating film offers an emotionally charged visual experience, inviting the viewers to capture the nature of the human condition in our unstable and media driven contemporary