Katie Lenanton

Katie Lenanton (she/her)
curator / producer / writer / editor / proofreader / etc
&
Co-Founder & Co-Director, Feminist Culture House
feministculturehouse.org

21 December, 2020

To Whom it May Concern,

RE: LETTER OF SUPPORT, THE TOWER (2020) 

I write in support of Jessie Bullivant.

I have followed Jessie’s practice since meeting them in 2014 through their residency at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, where I previously worked.

I am a sentimental person with collection tendencies. Around a year ago, I found something they gifted me in these times of first meeting(s). I’d stashed it in the pocket of a toiletry bag, and it was like finding $20 in a winter jacket. It’s a pocket-sized “trading card” print—a digital collage of the Olsen twins with their faces cut out, flipped, and swapped. Two versions were made. It’s pretty lol. I am a twin, too (not identical). I can’t remember if Jessie knew this.

I’m not sure if Jessie feels comfortable with me displaying this artwork (it’s currently in my lounge room, in Helsinki), attributing it to them, or acknowledging it in this context. But I do so in the spirit of their invitation to reflect on “unacknowledged / unpaid” exchanges within our relationship. Until now, I didn’t remember that our friendship began with this gift.

I’m not sure how to apply currencies or value to different offerings bartered in the spirit of friendship. How can that ledger ever be balanced? Jessie has recently seemed a bit anxious that they ask too much of me, but to date their requests have not felt burdensome.

I work as a curator, but supplement my income with writing and editing work. I usually try to place value on this work (€35p/h), but it’s also hard to ask friends and acquaintances for money when they’re asking for small-sounding favours (and they have artist incomes). It’s further complicated when I predict I will be fulfilled by the task. Editing can be draining, and at its most horrible, can prompt resentment for the time and energy spent making someone whose rhetoric you’ve found wanting present as more articulate. Money helps in these instances. But when I’m refining a comparatively interesting text, and feeling flattered that the artist desires my guidance, then it can be difficult to want to monetise this meaningful opportunity to work together.

 


 

The most recent instance of my “unacknowledged / unpaid” editing work with Jessie was for “The Tower” (2020), an editioned publication artwork presented for big wet, a one-day exhibition at the Haukilahti water tower. The text was 4460 words, well-written, and tbh not in need of much attention from me. 100 copies were printed, pink paper, enclosed with a novelty-print Band-Aid. It was hard to open the publication without the Band-Aid tearing the cover. It contained a collection of thoughts, facts, memories, speculations, and diaristic excerpts. These were dispersed under headings of different bodily fluids—saliva, spit, piss, pus, diarrhea, cum, blood, blood 2, milk, tears, shit (no sweat, snot, discharge, or ejaculate). The rhythm of the text oscillates between gushes and trickles. It steadily leaks exposure and vulnerability, balanced by wave upon wave of recollections. We swim through it all, the body of the text and the spillages of bodies, a lazy river of writing that ends with freefalling. After reading it a few times, I feel sodden with juicy memories and intimacies squeezed from their recent years.

In retrospect, it would have been nice to be acknowledged or thanked in the publication, but we spoke about this, and realised that acknowledgement is something we both need to work on recognising, and asking for. Acknowledgement is a currency.

I acknowledge that since 2016, I have offered editing suggestions for some of Jessie Bullivant’s residency and grant applications; advised about letters written to institutions; edited and proofread their artwork “To Be Announced. With Special Guests. Refreshments Provided. Subject To Change.” (2019), and their thesis, Site Specific Illness (2020). I’ll soon read through and offer thoughts about a forthcoming commissioned artwork comic. In 2020-21, we are also working together on a durational project that I’ve initiated with collaborator Bogna Wisniewska, but we will both be paid something for our efforts, and whatever outcomes arise will be acknowledged 😎.

If one of my currencies is editing and working with texts, and one of Jessie’s is artworks, then maybe their gift of the Olsen artwork—immediately and generously upon meeting me—means that all this time I haven’t been unpaid at all. In fact, living with an artwork-trading card-object from an artist whose practice is largely immaterial could mean that I possess a rare thing.

I am happy to be contacted if you have any questions about this letter, and strongly encourage you to fund the undoubtedly worthy artistic activities that Jessie is currently undertaking.

Warmly,

Katie Lenanton

Saara Hannus

Saara Hannus
Artist and Curator
[email protected]
saarahannuslove.tumblr.com

 

19 January 2021

 

Reader
www.jessiebullivant.com

 

To whom it may concern,

I am writing in support of Jessie Bullivant’s work Your Name…, 2020, which was produced for the exhibition Fantasy 1&2 at SIC gallery curated by me. Fantasy 1&2 revolved around monogamy culture, romance, desire, queer relating and commitment. The exhibition also included work by Teo Ala-Ruona, Hinni Huttunen & Illusia Juvani, Anni Puolakka and Abdullah Qureshi. Jessie’s work was also accompanied by a text by Brontë Jones in the small publication I made for the exhibition.

Your Name… consisted of two parts: a photo of a person’s butt that has Your Name tattooed on it, and a 212 word title describing the image and the artist’s complex relation to it. 

I first got to know Jessie when they moved to Helsinki in the beginning of 2018. Jessie moved in with me and another artist, Haliz Yosef. We sometimes had dinners or afternoon coffees, but usually we were too busy with our work. Jessie and I bonded later. I think it was around the time we started working on Fantasy 1&2, but I don’t think us getting closer was related to us working together. It was more that we both are a bit shy at first and open up slowly.

Jessie had lived in Helsinki for about a year when I gave them their first tattoo: the logo of HSL, the organisation managing public transport in Helsinki. The logo is round, but the tattoo became oval, since Jessie was sitting down as I poked it into their skin, and I didn’t realise that muscles make the shape of the skin different in different positions. I think it looks nice anyway.

 


 

Tattooed ink will fade as time passes, but it will not disappear. Tattoos are forever. The tattoo Your Name is very convenient for a life-long message: it can always be applied to a new lover — showing commitment, but not to anyone specific. It’s a commitment to love in an ironic way. The joke is, that romantic love is not forever. It’s very fragile. Everlasting romance is an illusion, but we really want to believe in it, over and over again. I wonder if making an artwork about something makes it last, fixes it in a certain position, in a way that romantic love can’t?

This is only one aspect of Jessie’s ingenious, multilayered work. I’m a big fan of Jessie’s thinking, and thinking of them and their work excites and inspires me. I give my name to this letter of support as an act of lasting commitment to Jessie’s practice. I would, without hesitation, endorse them for any future collaboration you might have in mind.

 

Yours sincerely,

Saara Hannus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yvonne Billimore

Yvonne Billimore
feminist-artist-curator-researcher-writer
Finland / Scotland
fcrp.cargo.site

6 January 2021

Re:Tell it to the birds, 2020

[ID: Nestled amongst an entanglement of branches, their dropped brown leaves littering the forest floor, Tell it to the birds peeks out from behind a tree to greet it’s visitors. Perched on top of a long metallic grey stand is a paperback copy of Jessie Bullivant’s Master thesis Site Specific Illness. The background of the book cover is pale grey. On the front cover “Jessie Bullivant” appears in black text at the top. Underneath a black box with white text reads “Site Specific Illness”. The cover image sits below. It displays a luxurious cheeseboard meticulously composed of fanned crackers, green grapes, clusters of orange physalis, a selection of cheese wedges and logs, and two half pomegranates with their jewel-like pink seeds scattered across the scene.] 

 

Dear reader(s): www.jessiebullivant.com

I write this letter of support from the position of a human viewer of Jessie Bullivant’s artwork

Tell it to the birds, 2020, exhibited during the winter of 2020 in the exhibition Bird Feeders curated by Sakari Tervo in Ramsholmen Nature Reserve, Finland (and documented in an online presentation at ofluxo.net).

I come from a lineage of “bird feeders”. Writing this letter I sit at my mothers kitchen table in Gourock watching an array of garden birds dart, dive, nip, swoop, flitter, hop and dance around a row of nine feeders. It transports me to the kitchen table of my apartment in Helsinki with Jessie, where I had the pleasure to indulge in a number of dialogues around Tell it to the birds, while we simultaneously greeted feathery visitors to our window bird feeder. 

Tell it to the birds is an inviting artwork to think-with. Simple and sleek in its surface presentation, between the artwork, it’s pages pages and wider context lie complex weavings of relations and relationships. The thesis pages themselves move through time and space in a series of letters which bring together personal experiences, memories, anecdotes, responses to artworks and theoretical references. Placed in this exhibition setting of the forest, in direct contrast to the academic setting, the form and content of the thesis take on new meanings. 

“Site specificity” is undeniably a key component of this work. By situating their MFA thesis, which in part performs as a critique of the University, in a new context Jessie offers it up as a “nutritious meal” to be consumed by a new audience. The pages of this artwork claim that “illness is also a way of communicating when other strategies fail. “I am unwell” may also be a way of saying ‘I am uncomfortable / unhappy / resistant / grieving / anxious / dying’”. So, why “tell it to the birds”? Are humans not listening, has this thesis fallen upon unattentive ears within the institution (University) and if so, might at least the birds respond? 

 


Yvonne Billimore
feminist-artist-curator-researcher-writer
Finland / Scotland
fcrp.cargo.site

 

Far from a last resort, might we wish to welcome birds as visitors to our artworks? Personally, I have long been interested in the relationships between humans and more-than-human beings. Humans and birds co-inhabit a range of environments and relations, and the birds who visit our “feeders” are a particular form of companion species. Together we move beyond living “alongside” each other towards co-existence, intra-acting through our habits and movements which shift in relation to one another. Not only are birds listened to by humans, they also listen to and read us with great attentiveness. What might their readings of “Site Specific Illness” have to offer humans and our institutions? 

Furthermore, Tell it to the birds makes me consider: What are we feeding the birds? Whilst offering up their thesis work as bird feed may suggest even further disillusion with the University, the sustitence comes in the form of knowledge rather than fat balls. With this it opens the question of knowledge consumption and access. Tell it to the birds is addressed to an audience that does not inhabit the University institution, but invites them to engage and participate, to be included in the production of knowledge. 

These readings of Tell it to the birds may seem unconventional for the purpose of a letter of recommendation. Yet, this letter of support performs the very substance of Jessie Bullivant’s work as a responsive site for reading between the lines of time, space, site, relations and relationships. Their practice feeds a range of audiences and nourishes the discourses and environments/institutions it engages with. It has been my pleasure to think-with their artwork Tell it to the birds and act in advocacy of their generative practice. 

Yours sincerely,

Yvonne Billimore 

 

Even Minn

Letter of Support for Jessie Bullivant’s To Be Announced. With Special Guests. Refreshments Provided. Subject To Change. 2019 Public Programme Presented as part of Kuvan Kevät 2019 (MFA Degree Show of the Academy of Fine Arts of University of the Arts Helsinki) 4 May – 2 June, 2019.

 

I had the pleasure of witnessing a tragicomic crip drama unfold itself into my inbox. It happened over the course of four weeks in late spring 2019. The series of emails were signed by a character called Jacqui Bullivant, who introduced themselves as the artist’s mother. Every day an email from Jacqui would appear with a new excuse as to why their child could not attend the Kuvan Kevät group show. Day by day I became more and more immersed in the narrative, curious about how weird and particular the web of reasonings would get. With mixed feelings of desperation and amusement I enjoyed the growing thread of justifications. I read the piece as institutional critique dressed up as episodic small time drama. 

The Kuvan Kevät Show has become an institution within the annual Finnish art calendar with art critics and journalists eager to present their lists on which emerging artists are worth noting and remembering. The media hype around the show creates pressure on the attending students. They can feel like they are put in competition with one another, comparing whose work gets the most attention and attracts the most buyers. I’ve witnessed people around me panic and break down from the sheer pressure of presenting in the show. Bullivant’s work exposes the anxiety inherent to taking part in the spectacle. The semi-fictional artist takes avoiding exposure to such extreme measures that it becomes absurd. As they enact their withdrawal a flood of messages from their oversharing mother paradoxically keeps drawing a lot of attention to themselves. The domestic intervenes with the professional. This focus on care work along with the employed tactics of refusal and negation connect the work to the lineage of feminist conceptual art.

The work plays with cringey feelings. What could be more awkward than having your mother defend your graduation work? The underachieving artist becomes a sympathetic character, easy to identify with. Jacqui is portrayed as the archetypal overbearing parent demanding special attention to their child who is gifted but unwell. The work critiques the ableist expectations of what it means to be a successful solo artist by making visible the labor of the mother as the invisible support structure of the working-child-who-can’t-work. The way the institution and the mother show their love are both examples of good intentions gone to hell. The institution tries to show love by presenting the artist and their art as the shiny final product of the elite art education program, all the while assigning them to the violent capitalist logics of the attention economy. The mother shows their love by acting as their child’s saviourly agent, at the same time depriving the artist from having an agency of their own as an adult. Both seem to speak to the impossibility of working in the neoliberal art world without sickness.

 

Yours sincerely,

Even Minn

Writer and dramaturg

The Guardian

Lawyer

 

5104/7 Riverside Quay
Southbank VIC 3006
Australia
T: + 61 417 532 819
E: [email protected]
ABN 14 612 435 687

12 March 2019

YOUR REF:
OUR    REF:

 

 

To the Reader,

 

Letter of Support for Jessie Bullivant’s The Guardian

 

I am writing in support of Jessie Bullivant’s 20l8 work, The Guardian, which was produced for the exhibition Infrastructuralism, curated by Kent Wilson at the Latrobe Art Institute (‘LAI’).

I note that I first met Jessie in 2016 and we have remained friends ever since.

In early 2018, Jessie asked me to assist them with their work, The Guardian. Consequently, I took instructions from Kent Wilson and his partner Lucy to draft their Wills in my capacity as a lawyer. I undertook this work as a favour to Jessie and it was a pleasure to work with all parties involved.

The Guardian took the form of the Wills of Kent and Lucy. I recall that it was the first time Kent and Lucy had made Wills and they welcomed the opportunity. Pertinent to Jessie’s work, these Wills included a clause that appointed Jessie as guardian of one of their children in the event that they both predeceased that child while that child was still a minor.

Among other things, I advised Kent and Lucy that in order for their Wills to reflect their wishes they should make new Wills whenever their circumstances change. I also advised them that if they make new Wills they should destroy all prior Wills (including any copies of them) to ensure their complete revocation.

The Guardian was exhibited as both of the Wills framed behind glass. Only the cover pages, on which were written the name of the Willmaker and the date the Will was executed, were visible. It is my understanding that Jessie was interested in the way legal documents make an agreement between parties both visible and concrete. In addition to the materiality of the agreement, the work brings up questions relating to how decisions are authenticated and the boundaries of what we can consider as an artwork.

 


 

Letter of Support for Jessie Bullivant’s The Guardian 12 March 2019

 

Jessie informs me that they have since donated The Guardian to the LAI collection, where it will be cared for in perpetuity. This implies that if Kent and Lucy make new Wills in the future then the destruction and revocation of their prior Wills may be complicated by the rules of the collection and its associated conservation requirements. Such a development highlights the vast and complex scope of The Guardian.

Yours faithfully,


Paul Moses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 2 of 2

In the event of winning

Lou Hubbard
Senior Lecturer School of Art
Victorian College of the Arts
Faculty of Fine Arts and Music

1 September 2018

Reader
www.jessiebullivant.com

 

To whom it may concern,

I am writing in support of Jessie Bullivant’s project, In the event of winning (Darebin), a work produced specifically for the 2017 Darebin Art Prize, for which I was a judge, alongside David Cross and Claire Watson. The biennial Prize is held at the Bundoora Homestead, a local council gallery, and the winning artwork is acquired by the city of Darebin.

In the event of winning (Darebin) was a sculptural proposition: a blue Samsonite hard shell suitcase wrapped in plastic at Tullamarine airport by a company offering the service as a security measure. Attached to the suitcase was a laminated text instructing us (the viewer/judges) that the suitcase contained the artists’ entry, which was only to be revealed in the event that it was chosen as the winning artwork. The text suggested that in these circumstances, a judge, or Council representative, would ceremoniously cut away the plastic as part of the proceedings on the opening night.

Previous versions of the work (shown in the 2016 John Fries Award, 2017 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize) followed a similar premise, yet offered a pre-recorded acceptance speech as the outcome. In this case, both the form and content of the suitcases’ innards were unknown.

Jessie’s application sparked the imagination of the risk assessment team. Initially at the application stage, this work was deemed to pose a potential security risk to the Bundoora Homestead. They could not predict the repercussions that awaited us if the suitcase was opened. Perhaps the suitcase contained something inflammatory about a Councilor? Perhaps it contained something racist or homophobic? I believed an assurance was given that the contents would not prove offensive to any being or statutory body. As judges, we were asked to assess this artwork in the same way we would the entries in the prize.

I appreciated the wrapped suitcase standing alone on the floor of an art gallery. Like other suitcases unclaimed and out of place, it could eventually be blasted open by a security task force only to find, perhaps, undies and Birkenstocks strewn across the floor, distressed. Or its contents might reveal an editioned print or indeed a smaller shrink-wrapped suitcase. I enjoyed imagining the possible contents. For me it was a heightened singular artwork, its contents subsumed into its secure encasement. The suitcase may have remained unopened even in the event of winning; as we know, instructions are often disobeyed or misguided.

As a judge I was expected to declare any conflicts of interest with the finalists. Having been a lecturer at the VCA for some time, I knew a number of the artists in the prize personally, including Jessie, who I supervised during their Honours degree in 2015. From this intensive period, I got to know Jessie quite well, and know that they are interested in conflicts of interest, and the blurry line of what constitutes one. I believed there was no need for me to declare a special conflict of interest for Jessie.

On the other hand, I do believe I am faced with a conflict as I compose this letter of support regarding the details of the judging process: apart from our public judges’ statement, I am contractually obliged to keep that process confidential. So please accept this as an apology for not being able to elaborate.

Yours faithfully,

Lou Hubbard

Postal address: Level 1, Building 879, 234 St Kilda Road Southbank, Victoria 3006 AustraliaPhone: +61 3 90359484

Specific Objects

29.12.2018

To the concerned reader of www.jessiebullivant.com,

Re: Specific Objects, 2016

I write to you from my position as co-director of KNULP gallery, Sydney, wishing to express my support for Jessie Bullivant’s recent work Specific Objects (2016).

The piece consists of two unwanted presents received by the artist, which were re-packaged in kitchen-grade aluminium foil and re-gifted to KNULP as Bullivant’s contribution to the gallery’s annual fundraiser auction of the same year. The subsequent re-sale of these small, metallic prisms – think Judd does Povera – contributed to the gallery’s operational budget for 2017.

As a gesture of support, then, this letter is a reciprocal one; a gift given in return. Bullivant’s thoughtful offering both literally and symbolically engaged an economy of exchange that independent galleries such as KNULP rely upon in order to survive. Without governmental funding, artist run spaces are forced to draw on the artists they exhibit as a resource in-kind. This ubiquitous request for donation was, for Bullivant, an opportunity to explore the different degrees of interpersonal transactions that allow for work to appear in these spaces at all. As with much of her work, Specific Objects took advantage of a contingent aspect of art’s presentation, transforming it into a generative site for her own practice.

In closing I must, in good conscience, also reveal a potential (additional?) conflict of interest within this circular economy of support. As the highest bidder at the 2016 KNULP Annual Fundraiser Auction, I am now also the owner of Bullivant’s Specific Objects. As such, I stand to personally gain from any impact this letter may have on the appreciative value of the work. In order to avoid any accusations of insider trading or unethical speculation, I would like to take this opportunity to state unequivocally that Specific Objects will not, under my discretion, appear on the secondary (tertiary) market. I may, however, re-gift it.

Yours sincerely,

Mitchel Cumming
Co-Director, KNULP

 

KNULP
15 Fowler St, Camperdown
Open Sat-Sun, 12-5pm / Mon-Fri by appt.
Knulps.org

Inside job

Dr Anna Parlane
Sessional lecturer and research assistant
Art History, School of Culture and Communication
University of Melbourne

 

The Reader
www.jessiebullivant.com

 

10 December, 2018

 

To whom it may concern,

I am writing in support of Jessie Bullivant’s Inside Job, 2015, in which I was involved as a gallery attendant.

I have known Jessie since 2013, when we were both employed as gallery attendants and front of house coordinators at Melbourne’s Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA). We worked closely together in this capacity for four years, during which time I also became familiar with Jessie’s art practice.

I’ve always enjoyed the efficiency of their work. As gestures, Jessie’s works are often very simple, but also very direct. They pinpoint an internal conflict or faultline within the structure they’re examining.

Inside Job was developed for NEW15, an exhibition of new works commissioned by ACCA and curated by the gallery’s in-house graphic designer, artist Matt Hinkley. Jessie’s work consisted of a gesture – a shrug – performed by ACCA’s team of gallery attendants during our interactions with visitors to the exhibition. This performative component of the work was accompanied by a series of stock photographs depicting people shrugging, which had been purchased by the artist. These images were used in posters designed by Hinkley in his dual capacity as curator and in-house designer, and exhibited around Melbourne as advertising for the exhibition.

As a participant in Inside Job, I was impressed by the ethical and professional manner in which Jessie approached the project, and particularly by how thoroughly they briefed members of ACCA’s front of house team.

They did a powerpoint presentation for us, which they worked really hard on. They was nervous about how we would react. They understood that the project’s success depended completely on our participation.

Jessie split their artists’ fee among the work’s performers, ensuring we were compensated for the time we spent learning about the work, and also for the task she was asking us to perform in addition to our regular duties as gallery attendants.

 


 

They wrote up a contract for the delivery of services for each of us, formalised it all. The contract was one of the few parts of the work that had a lasting physical presence. There were also the advertising posters, and the exhibition wall label, which listed all of our names where you would normally have “materials.”

Jessie’s attraction to what Benjamin Buchloh called “the aesthetics of administration” and their interest in identifying (and subverting) the conventions of art institutions positions their practice unambiguously, I think, in the tradition of Institutional Critique.

They also arranged a workshop with a choreographer and movement specialist, who provided us with basic movement training and instruction in how to use our body language expressively in our performance of the work.

Jessie introduced a shrug into the network of structures, policies, bodies, actions and interactions that is ACCA in order to demonstrate how information flows through the institution. Information – or perhaps certainty? As gallery attendants, one of our roles was to talk about the artworks on display with visitors to the gallery, answer questions, offer interpretation or insight. For many exhibition visitors we were the embodiment of ACCA’s institutional voice, invested with the authority of the gallery’s public standing. Shrugging during every interaction we had with a gallery visitor introduced a note of uncertainty into everything we said and, by extension, into the gallery’s voice. The shrug was like a little anarchic glitch, a crack in both ours and ACCA’s authority. It made us all into double agents, working both for and against our employer, systematically undermining our own credibility.

The shorter and more prosaic the interaction, the harder it was to get a shrug in. When someone asked me what time the gallery was closing – “Five pm (… I guess?”) – or where the bathroom was – “Just to your left (… but you might want to reconsider?”) – the shrug must have made my answer unsettlingly ambiguous.

It seems to me that Inside Job was about unmasking the institution’s role as a “tool of ideological control and cultural legitimation,” to borrow Buchloh’s words again, but it was also at least as much about Jessie’s own relationship with ACCA, and with all of us.

As a delegated performance, Inside Job relied heavily on the participation and input of its performers and the artist’s ability to clearly and effectively communicate their vision to a range of participants. The work provides an excellent example of Jessie’s ability to work successfully with others, and gain co-operation from stakeholders.

If I’m going to be completely honest, it could fairly easily have gone the other way. There was a lot riding on Jessie’s ability to be persuasive. If the gallery attendants weren’t all on board, their already ephemeral work would simply evaporate out of existence. A couple of people were reluctant to do it, they didn’t appreciate being co-opted into their colleague’s work.

 


 

Perhaps some of the gallery attendants felt the work was exploitative – and of course it was, in a way, but no more than Matt’s multiple role as ACCA’s designer-slash-exhibition curator-slash-artist exploited his particular skill set, his networks and his relationship to the institution. Jessie was leveraging their professional and personal relationships with us into a project that would raise their profile as an artist. The fact that we all already knew each other was certainly an advantage to them in some ways, but it may have been a disadvantage in others.

Curated survey shows are always portraits of networks: the kinds of crossover personal/professional networks that underpin the way we do business with one another and, I imagine, the way people did business with each other long before “networking” was recognised as an essential professional skill. Art galleries like ACCA survive on the value of networking. Why else would so many ambitious young art students volunteer their time to support the gallery’s daily administration? Why else would wealthy philanthropists donate their money? We build our identities through these associations.

In any kind of public-facing job, your body is being co-opted. Your body and your personality, your personal style. You are the face of the organisation. Exploitation is inherent. There is necessarily a kind of splitting that happens, in this situation, where your personal identity, your private thoughts, come apart from your public face, your identity as an employee and representative of the institution. It’s funny, though, how the relationship between your public and private selves is elastic. If you’re good at your job, you put a lot of yourself into it. You remake yourself to fit the institution, and of course in this process you can’t help but remake the institution a bit too.

It has been my observation that Jessie is consistently conscientious, thoughtful and meticulous in their attention to detail, both in their art practice and their professional work. Inside Job is exemplary of the conceptual clarity of their practice, and their deft handling of sophisticated ideas.

Jessie said once that they like stock images because they don’t know what they are going to be. An image is created that doesn’t yet have a buyer or a purpose. It could be used for anything. It could be used to advertise cat food, a mental health service, vacuum cleaners – anything. I find the stock images they used in Inside Job, showing beautiful, yet carefully relatable models shrugging theatrically, really funny. They are mystified, perfectly embodying the placeholder quality of the stock image, standing in for a meaning that has yet to be decided. Inside Job infiltrated and re-routed ACCA’s exhibition advertising budget, and inserted these uncertain images into a communicative space that is normally used for advertising’s more direct messaging. Installed in paid advertising space in Melbourne’s train stations and bus shelters, our model avatars did a similar job to what we were doing inside the gallery, fracturing the tone of certainty with which the institutional message is delivered.

 


 

As Jessie’s title suggests, Inside Job was fully implicated in the mutually exploitative network of relations encapsulated by the term “institution.” They exploited their existing relationships with ACCA, with Matt, with us, in order to introduce their work – a little glitch, a fleeting moment of uncertainty – into ACCA’s existing channels of communication. Institutional critique is often understood according to a dated model of artistic radicalism as fundamentally combative, speaking truth to power, antagonising its own institutional frame. Inside Job, however, was deeply complicit. The charge of antagonism that the work delivered – its ephemerality, its subversiveness – was absolutely in line with ACCA’s self-image and institutional priorities, the gallery’s desire to be seen as provocative.

I think that what Jessie really pointed out, from their position inside the institution, is how ACCA’s institutional voice – our collective voice – is already split, fractured by the dynamic, elastic relationship between each of our multiple selves, slippery undercurrents of shifting allegiances, power dynamics, doubts, uncertainties, ulterior motives. The work inserted a visible question mark into a space that was already there.

I am delighted to endorse Inside Job, which I believe to be a strong example of Jessie’s work, and clear evidence of their ambition and talent as an artist.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Parlane

Direct Aerial Work

14.03.2019

Re: Jessie Bullivant, Direct Aerial Work, 2011.

To Whom it May Concern,

I am writing in support of Jessie Bullivant’s piece Direct Aerial Work, which they produced in 2011 for their Graduate Exhibition at RMIT University. The work consisted of a helicopter that was hired to hover over the opening event for an extended period.

I met Jessie in 2011 when they were a student in my Sound Art unit at RMIT University where they were a distinguished student. I know that Jessie became interested in sound – how it is produced and spatialised – during my course, and I believe that the idea of involving a helicopter occurred to them after exiting one of my classes (which involved a lot of listening) and being sensitised to the soundscape of the city. They explained to me that they imagined the work producing a sound that filled the entire exhibition space, and sought my advice during its development to ascertain whether it would be audible from inside the buildings that the exhibition would inhabit.

The height and duration of the helicopter’s presence was determined by civil aviation safety requirements, which minimise risk and noise pollution.

On the evening of the exhibition opening, which happened across various buildings in Melbourne’s centre, there were large groups of audience members moving between and congregating in front of the exhibition buildings. The hard surfaces of the RMIT University buildings reflected the sound, and created a kind of heightened atmosphere.

Of course, an opening is about more than just the art being exhibited, especially a graduate exhibition which represents the completion of a number of years studying and a debut in the field. So in this context, the work resonated (sic) as a kind of performative arrival.

I believe it was an ambitious and unique work, and I take pleasure writing in support of it.

Sincerely,

Dr. Paul Doornbusch
Associate Dean

www.collarts.edu.au

p 1300 818 777
e [email protected]
a 208 Wellington Street
Collingwood VIC 3066

Australian College of the Arts Pty Ltd
ACN: 082 799 282

CV

Ville Niemi 27.06.2021

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To the Reader,

I am writing regarding Jessie Bullivant’s website: jessiebullivant.com which I developed in April 2019. The purpose of this letter is to provide you with professional biographical details. It is (semi-) regularly updated.

Jessie was born in 1986 in (so-called) Australia. They acknowledge the Wiradjuri people as the traditional custodians of the country on which they were born and raised, and pay their respects to their Elders, past, present and future and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Jessie is an artist, writer, and arts worker currently based in Helsinki, Finland. Jessie is currently presenting a new episodic work in the window of Titanik gallery, Turku, over 2021. Updates can be found on instagram @something.is.weatheringThey recently launched Access Riders, a project with Jemina Lindholm as part of Rehearsing Hospitalities, Frame Contemporary Art Finland’s public programme for 2019-2023.

They are currently an artist in residence at Helsinki International Artist Programme. In 2020 Jessie was awarded an artists working grant by The Finnish Cultural Foundation, contributed to #StopHatredNow2020 – New Standards, and presented work in the following exhibitions:  Fantasy 1&2, curated by Saara Hannus at SIC Gallery in Helsinki; big wet, a site-specific project in a flying-saucer shaped water tower in Espoo (Finland), in collaboration with artists Jani Anders Puhronen, Kristina Sedlerova-Villanen & Emelie Luostarinen; and BIRD FEEDERS (2020) visible online at ofluxo.net.

Recent exhibitions include Reciprocities (2021), an exhibition curated by Christine Langinauer at the Vantaa Art Museum Artsti, (which remained closed to the public for its duration due to COVID-19); WORMHOLE (2019) at KNULP, in Sydney (with special guests Andrey Bogush, Océane Bruel, Flis Holland, Elliot Lundegård, Rowan McNaught & Niko Wearden); Wayfind (2018) curated by Amelia Winata as part of Next Wave Festival, in Melbourne; A thousand times the rolling sun (2018) curated by Gabriel Curtin at the HM Prison Beechworth; Infrastructuralism (2018), curated by Kent Wilson at the Latrobe Art Institute, Bendigo; On Being (2017) curated by Charlotte Cornish at the Honeymoon Suite, Melbourne; Unproductive Thinking (2017) curated by James Lynch at Deakin Art Gallery, Melbourne.

Jessie has also curated several projects, including No, no, no! (after you) (2016) co-curated with Mitchel Cumming at KNULP in Sydney; Bedshed, (2016) at Seventh Gallery; Leisure & Lifestyle (2014) at Incinerator Gallery & Horsham Regional Art Gallery); and Interpreting Variable Arrangements (2013), in collaboration with Isadora Vaughan at Kulturhuset, Stockholm.

Jessie’s writing has been published in un magazine 14.2 (2020), Writing & Concepts 2016: Volume 1 (2018), Art+Australia online (2018), and Koreografisk Journal #6: Dressage (Sweden, 2019). They have delivered lectures at RMIT Design Hub (as part of the series Writing&Concepts curated by Jan Van Schaik) and Deakin Downtown (in conversation with Ian Milliss). They have worked as a lecturer at Aalto University, RMIT University, Latrobe College, and an Artist Mentor at VCASS (all Melbourne).

Jessie has been a finalist in several art prizes, including the Darebin Art Prize (2017), Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize (2017) and John Fries Award (2016). While they were Highly Commended in the John Fries Award, it should be noted that they have yet to win a prize.

Jessie completed a Master’s of Fine Arts (Time & Space) at the Academy of Fine Arts. Their thesis was awarded by the Kuvataideakatemia Academic Council, and described by examiner Marina Vishmidt as a fascinatingly reflexive project which is adept at performatively enacting its critical interests in a highly developed conceptual format”. A review of their MFA work by Kaino Wennerstrand can be read on AQNB here. Prior to this, they completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) at the Victorian College of the Arts (Melbourne) in 2015, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts at RMIT University (Melbourne) in 2011. During their undergraduate studies, they studied for one semester at Parsons: The New School, in New York (2011).

Jessie can be contacted at [email protected]

BR
Ville

 


MVH,
Ville Niemi
Viiksimaisteri

+358407729374
[email protected]

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