On June 2 in the afternoon, I joined Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow in her sunny studio in Astoria, Queens. I've known Jodie's work for a long time, since we started graduate school together in 2002 at Hunter College. Jodie often revisits themes of the environment, femininity and personal identity - with a visceral silly and clever sensibility.
Last Saturday, Jodie and I discussed her latest work on endangered and extinct species of birds. Jodie started our visit by laying out collages she has been working on: roughly 11x17," these collages are meant to be read like sheet music. She has made corresponding soundtracks for each drawing of the bird songs. When birds share longitudinal space, their songs overlap. We discussed how she hopes to install these collages. She's interested in creating an intimate space where viewers can "dial up" the song for a particular collage using a device similar to what one might use on a guided tour of a museum.
Additionally, Jodie showed me some drawings in which the birds "spoke" their names in speech bubbles. She felt this iteration of the collages, still in sketch form, had room to evolve. We discussed how Jodie might integrate the drawn elements of the speech bubbles with the collaged birds. Jodie might experiment with painting the speech bubbles rather than writing them.
After talking about the drawings, we took a look at another project she's working on. Continuing with the theme of endangered birds, Jodie has created the beginnings of an installation in which she will hang hundreds of paper cutouts of a single bird species, creating an immersive environment. When talking about this project, we discussed how the pixelation of the enlarged digital image seems sad and ephemeral, echoing the state of the bird on this planet. We also discussed options for integrating her picnic blanket work into this piece: creating a comfortable spot under the birds where the viewer can lie down, look up and be immersed in experiencing the many birds.
We also discussed how Jodie could merge the two projects. She could create a soundtrack of the birds hanging from the ceiling so that the viewer has a multi-sensory experience. Jodie mentioned an idea she was playing with - of mounting the birds on a slowly rotating disco ball motor so that they remain in motion.
Between now and the upcoming Collectively Assembled show, Jodie plans to continue developing both of these projects. I was excited about both of them and gave her an "assignment," like I received on my visit with Georgia. This assignment was to continue working on both of these projects and install the next iteration of one, the other or both in the show. Of course, I'm sure Jodie would continue working on these regardless, but we both agreed that deadlines help. I can't wait to see where this goes.