Take Notice: D. Jean Hester
In May, media artist D. Jean Hester made her way through the streets of lower Manhattan with a bucket of wheat paste and a brush, posting a series of nine questions about space. "Do you feel safe here?" asked one. "What reminds you of home?" asked another. Included in the Psy.Geo Conflux show, the posters had pens attached so that passers-by could respond; Hester then photographed the posters as the scribbled comments created an evolving conversation. "Surprisingly, none of the posters was tagged," says Hester, laughing. The desire for interaction characterizes most of the Los Angeles-based media artist's work, as does the desire to break through the dazed distraction that seems to shroud daily urban life. In Notice, a new interactive project, Hester, who's always armed with a video camera, began to observe the minutiae around her - the movement of a curtain in the wind, the dance of shadows, the play of light. Having compiled hours of this seemingly mundane footage, she invited people to send comments about things they'd noticed, too. Notice randomly combines images and the collected text fragments, creating often surprising and poetic conjunctions that catapult the random and everyday into epiphany. And of course, the installation includes a keyboard so gallery-goers can add their comments. Hester graduated from USC's School of Cinema/Television, and then began working as a programmer. "I wanted to find a way to bring my filmmaking and my programming together," she explains. Gradually, over the course of three years, she has built a compelling body of work. Queen's Rain, a short video piece, screened on the large video screens on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard, and she has begun curating shows, bringing together experimental music, video, sound and installation. Her next goal? "I'm going to create a center for new media art in Los Angeles, where I can have a new show every month!" Take notice, LA.
(Holly Willis, photo: Lydia Burkhalter)