"Threads Undone" Artist Interview: Jenn Pipp
Interested in learning more about the artists on display at Emerson Contemporary's Media Art Gallery? Read about Pipp's, "The Great Big."
Who or what inspires your art-making process?
Making art makes me feel alive in a way nothing else does. They are a way to express complex visions. Feeling the vision of the piece inspires me to make it. Before they are made I the pieces have an essence that wants to be made material. I have a sense of what it will be like when it is complete. It’s more about what it feels like than what it looks like. There is a lot of discovery while making a piece. It grows and changes like any living thing. It's a conversation. Even with a strong vision the process is filled with mystery, discovery and synchronous moments.
How do you understand the relationship between spirituality and technology? Is technology as “sacred” as nature? Do you have any advice for (re)connecting to technology in a more intentional way?
All of our technology is made out of earth materials. Although our culture and tools are modern they are in relationship with the greater cycles of nature. Nature is always the larger container.
I personally see everything as sacred. I love to work where there is tension of belief to explore. That tension offers so much potential for growth and discovery. People do create a line between spirituality and technology because of the negative impacts of our lifestyle on the earth and society. Creating separation makes understanding difficult. The divide leads to more problems and no authentic solutions. My work is about changing how we perceive the everyday objects we engage with constantly. If everything is sacred they are sacred. And perhaps our attention to these objects makes them particularly sacred.
We shape our tools and our tools shape us. To connect more intentionally with technology you could find ways to become more present with it. Think about how something like your phone is composed of layers and layers of discoveries and a complex matrix of materials connecting to you in limitless creative ways to people all over the globe. It’s a tool that can be used in so many ways. To uplift and enlighten. By reflecting on the potential and starting to explore that potential you will be intentional. Humor, fun and play can open the door to new ways of seeing something, leading to new awarenesses and presence. I am experimenting with sharing these ideas through livestream ceremonies with a contemporary art flavor. They engage the path of data, the energy and light moving through technology, in the fashion that ceremonies use fire to embody transformation. To learn more my newsletter sign up and YouTube channel link are on my webpage www.jennpipp.com.
Why are you interested in spacetime reality?
I am interested in playing with spacetime reality because time has become one of our limited resources. We have been so accustomed to flowing in the linear grid of days weeks months years that we have lost touch with the more substantial cycles and more creative ways to think about time. Days of the week are a construct. It is so ingrained it's hard to even think another way is possible. We jam our lives full of activity and there is not enough time to reflect. We are culturally restrained by its invisible structure. I believe there is a benefit in connecting to more natural rhythms and flows. Alternatively we could benefit from playing with other time concepts and structures to feel less stuck and overwhelmed by the gridlock of time we work in. The shapes with seven marks rotating by the second feature in The Great Big Infinity are playing with time structures by mish mashing 7 days with hours and seconds together.
How do you conceptualize the great big infinity (of the universe)?
It’s funny to try to conceive of it. It’s everything every time. It is far too large and complex for the human brain to understand. It makes me think of how describing the beginning of the universe makes me laugh. I appreciate the desire to understand but I think it's ultimately beyond conception. Mystery is important, it keeps us honest. This alter honors the undefinable wild beyond. Because it is everything I am realizing there is artistic freedom to be eclectic. I used to feel compelled to use streamlined futuristic aesthetics. I am realizing that is not necessary and that is freeing because I love a mélange of textures, concepts, and materials.
What is the meaning of life?
To create your meaning of life. We each have a unique one.
What does the exhibition “Threads Undone” mean to you? How does your art fit into or deviate from that idea?
Things coming undone is a matter of perspective. It can be something cherished falling apart or or a chance to use the material in a new way. My media is woven over and over into inself. Coming apart and coming together. Some of the footage has been threaded into ceremonies since I started the path of data. I like using media this way because it becomes so personal and as it gets layered it takes on new meanings and forms that I don’t expect. To me Treads Undone is an opportunity to weave the world anew.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’m tempted to say a bird. Maybe a tree. I’m being playful and it’s my nature to subvert traditional standards like the idea of growing up. I want to transcend what I even think is possible for myself because at the age of 42 I am just breaking through a barrier of limiting beliefs of who I am as a person. I hope that as a collective we are transcending what we were growing up to be. I would love this lifetime to lead me to a sense of self understanding, genuine creative purpose, and sharing that until the very end.
(Interview conducted by Maya Rubio)