My multimedia projects explore the psychological effects of constraint and question social and structural constructs. 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 constraint such as the effects of work on our self worth or the trapped frustration of motherhood. Through an act of social-emotional reciprocity, I invite others to share their stories, thoughts or performative acts on said topic, which I record. 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 viewer’s experience of the work.
The Video project, I Know You Have Felt What I’m Feeling Right Now, is a socially-engaged, multimedia project concerned with the psychological effects of the constraint of motherhood and the damage created from inequity within the domestic space. The video includes sound fragments from 25 hours of phone conversations with 20 mothers during the pandemic. These voices were rearranged and layered, creating mounting tension as the participants describe the psychological upheaval resulting from the dissipation of the boundary between our home lives and our work lives. The sound collage is supported by symbolic imagery including a dangling cord, a cracking domestic space, a damaged postpartum body, and the repetition of mundane labor.
About the Artist
Jess Levey is a New York City based, multimedia artist who works in photography, 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.
© Jess Levey