2019 | Swipe
The series of nine photographs, a triptych of triptychs, serves as a riff on the conflicted participation of the artist with society at large via social media. More specifically, recent actions and application of language around such actions. Here, the artist plays with the common verb swipe. The action of moving one’s finger across a touchscreen to move across related screens. In this instance however, the artist likens the swipe to various shifts in time, implied by events within the frame. Within each triptych, the landscape as a space not frozen, but in varying degrees of constant flux is composed with an intentional emphasis on repetition and similarity. Each image within the triptych relates to the adjacent image via the least common denominator of composition. It is intended to bring attention to the movement of the viewer along a physical timeline, or in the instance of the stone embedded in sand, of the grains of sand oft used when addressing the passage of time, as a flattening of time.
In the first triptych, through the intervention of an unwitting collaborator, a wall of billboards is transformed into a conscious abstraction. By thoughtfully peeling away layers, the collaborator creates windows into the recent past. The artist’s commute physically takes a parallel line to the newly dressed windows.
The second triptych consists of a recreational drive outside of the city in an agricultural region near Carrizo Plain. Again, the road on which the artist drives serves a the foundation of the images. In this series, the artist photographs fruit trees covered in netting to protect ripening fruit from birds. Again, the artist explores the varying degrees by which time is measured and how to utilize the various methods of measuring time to reflect back onto the viewer.
Two drives and a walk on the beach serves as the alternative title to these series, as the third series of photographs are from a not out of the ordinary, but intentional contemplation via photography, of grains of sand as they are washed across the surface of the image. Not intentionally funneled through an hourglass, but rather moving to and fro across the image plane. Thusly, in effect, a flattening of time.
2019 | On a visit to Tokio Florist
On Valentine's Day 1999, Giovanni Jance commenced an open-ended video interview with Sumi Kozawa, the proprietor of Tokio Florist in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Sumi Kozawa agreed to be filmed in her florist shop and in her home, and to be asked occasional, casual questions by an off-camera interviewer. The artist’s initial interest in recording Sumi Kozawa in her environment had several distinct aspects, all relating to how the passage of time is experienced. The basis for the interview was an interest in the transactions with the flowers that Sumi Kozawa grew on-site, and particularly in the harvest of the short-lived and delicate Papaver nudicaule, also known as the Icelandic poppy (but not actually of Iceland), arranged and sold through Valentine's Day. The original interview serves as the foundation for a series of editing interventions. First, regular cuts in the interview are spliced together with still life photographs taken some 20 years after the interview was made, and two years after Sumi Kozawa passed. These photographs, mostly of non-functioning analog clocks, framed family photographs, and unsold inventory, depict the domestic and transactional daily life of the Kozawa family. Second, the video is intercut with video footage of Susie Kozawa, Sumi Kozawa’s daughter, playing instruments made of found objects and objects she might use at home throughout the day; the latter footage is shot with the same kind of low-resolution digital camera that was available in 1999 and used in the original interview. Susie Kozawa’s filmed performances ostensibly recall the two places the artist first visited twenty years earlier, on Valentine's Day in 1999, and primarily they recall the cacophony of sounds one would hear then on any visit to the Kozawa household or to Tokio Florist.
2016 |After the Pulitzer Prize and approximately 10.5 kilometers
In July 2016, the artist traveled to the town of Skala Sikamineas on the Greek island of Lesbos to re-photograph a life jacket disposal site and several beaches, sites that international journalists had photographed on a Pulitzer Prize-winning trip to document one of the busiest points of entry for refugees traveling between Turkey and the European Union. Less than a year earlier, Mauricio Lima, Sergey Ponomarev, and Tyler Hicks of the New York Times had captured images on the same beaches and in the same life jacket disposal site.
In this revisit, the artist explores the short duration of collective memory in our era today, an era that has transitioned swiftly from an analog process of image dissemination to a constant generation of Yottabytes of images taken and shared in a streaming cycle accessible 24 hours a day.
At the life-jacket disposal site, a somber monument to discarded lives, the artist photographs various simulacra for the bodies that have crossed the Aegean: individual life jackets taken close-up, and large piles of life jackets that recall documentations of mass burial sites. In this installation, the photographed life-jackets, presented in a floor-to-ceiling grid, reads as a monochromatic wall-paper. A nod and acknowledgement to those who traveled to the island by dingy, as contrasted with those who later traveled there to bear witness to the detritus of a human catastrophe.
For the series of photographs taken along the coast of Skala Sikamineas, the artist chartered a fishing boat to travel along the shore, in order to photograph it from the perspective of the refugees rather than from the perspective of their hosts. It is from the former perspective that the artist positions himself within his own adopted home and in his practice as an artist: outside of the mainstream dictum of his peers, sitting firmly through self-inflicted isolation from a system, while also finding a need to reproduce in artistic form the trauma of being expelled from one identity into another.
2015-2017 | Katherine Sessions
Annually, around April of each year between 2015 and 2017 the artist chartered a helicopter to fly over Los Angeles County in search of Jacaranda in bloom. The trees are primarily photographed in medians, on sidewalks and other narrow strips of land on which landscaping decisions are relegated to the Department of Public Works. This series remixes the city landscaping agenda, connecting streets geographically dispersed throughout the county via the installation process. The bi-product of which is a multi-planed landscape. Separated adjacent to another street across the County, their only common denominator being the Jacaranda and the land under the jurisdiction of the department of public works. The adjoining backyards, driveways and parked vehicles serving as signifiers of socio-economic classes living in the County.
2014 | Tekhelet, spun from the hillazon
For the second installment of Tekhelet, Giovanni Jance presents a 25 minute single channel video produced in Israel the previous year. This video starts with an image of the seascape surrounding current day Tel Dor, in northern Israel. It is in this region where until the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the intensely secret manufacture of indigo made from the glands of Murex Trunculus contributed to the flourishing dye industry central to the economies around the Agean and Mediterranean seas.
Though Tekhelet, a Hebrew word used to describe a biblical blue remained part of the lexicon, the process by which the color was to be made had been undecipherable in Talmudic passages. Then, in 1988, the color was once again reproduced as it had been done by the Phoenicians.
As the video progresses, Jance quickly takes the viewer from Tel Dor, to the disputed territories of the West Bank, in Kfar Adumim where, in a small two-room shop, Tekhelet is once again produced for the purpose of dyeing strands of wool, then knotted together to make Tzittzit, a ritualistic tassel worn by observant Jews.
Here, the artist relishes in strictly observing without the benefit of a translation, as this recently resurrected carries with it, a weighty historic trace. Embracing the lapse of time between the archeological vats on the shores of Tel Dor to the modern day makeshift laboratory in the Judean Desert.