Tate Modern has had a long running film club, which over the past 10 years (+) has successfully explored themes surrounding London and its environs in relation to Tate. Initially created as a way to interact positively with the community, the group’s success has grown in audience and subject. As Tate embarks on a ‘new’ Tate with the opening of the extension in May 2016 this is the opportunity for the film club to also reinvent itself. For this initial start to the new season of film club viewings – Jessica Voorsanger has been commissioned to show 3 interlinked immersive film events exploring artists and their lives through the film sub genre of ‘docudramas’ also known as ‘biopics.’ Focusing on artists that have either shown or are in the collection of Tate. This will mark the bringing together of Tate Modern’s Film Club and Tate Britain’s Soapbox to work together to co-create events that engage with film (and their audiences) in alternative ways.
The 3 events will explore the ideas surrounding Secrets & Lies (the title being a reference to the Mike Leigh film of the same name). There will be 3 events (27 March, 22 May & 31 July 2017). These events will each explore the concept of the life (and/or culture) of one/or many artist(s) in three distinct ways. As through storytelling, especially within a ‘Hollywood’ drama scenario, the question of how much is actually true in the depiction of real life? Is anything exaggerated to make the story more engaging? As with documentaries, which we generally view as ‘truth’ can give a biased view of the director through the selection of interviewees and editing.
The1st event featured Frida Kahlo. The Salma Hayek film ‘Frida’ was aired. Aside from the film showing there was a quiz with questions associated with Frida Kahlo. The audience members were each given a ‘lucky bag’ which comprised of the elements to ‘dress up as Frida’ and a bespoke newspaper for the event. This first event was focussing on the ‘biopic’.
The 2nd event featured Pablo Picasso. The were three films aired: ‘Trimming Picasso’ (a docudrama by filmmaker Tim Newton), ‘Meeting Picasso’ (a documentary by filmmaker Tim Newton), and ‘Surviving Picasso’ (a docudrama starring Anthony Hopkins, the full feature was not aired). Aside from the films being shown there was an ‘In conversation’ between the filmmaker Tim Newton and Jessica Voorsanger. There was a quiz with questions associated with Frida Kahlo. The audience members were each given a ‘lucky bag’ which comprised of the elements to ‘dress up as a Picasso Cubist painting’ and a bespoke newspaper for the event. This second event was focussing on the differences between the biopic and the documentary.
The 3rd event will feature Peggy Guggenheim. The documentary ‘Peggy Guggenheim” Art Addict ‘will be shown. The focus of this event will be on documentaries. This event will take place in late July 2017.
The Trouble with Tribbles (named after the icon episode of Star Trek Original Series), was an interactive immersive experience offered at The Art Car Boot Fair, 2010. The participants were invited to experience the unleashing of zillions of ‘tribbles’ being poured on their heads, as Captain Kirk did in the episode aired in the 1960’s.
Jessica Voorsanger is the lead vocalist for the Apathy Band. The band recently released it’s first LP featuring Bob and Roberta Smith, Jessica Voorsanger, Leonardo Ulian, George Lionel Barker, George Cleghorn & Calvin Tsai in 2016.
The band is the brainchild of contemporary artist Bob and Roberta Smith. The band has had many incarnations but this version has the experimental funk fusion sounds that George Cleghorn brings with saxophone, Calvin Tsai brings with his guitar, George Lionel Barker (also known from The Fucks) on piano, Leonardo Ulian on the Theremin and Jessica Voorsanger on spoken word.
The LP is available to buy on eBay while stocks last. The ‘A’ side of the LP is Bob and Roberta reading the text from his painting Letter to Michael Gove (as seen at The Royal Academy), his protest at the Conservative Party’s reconfiguring of secondary education which has had a detrimental effect on arts and humanities education. The ‘B’ side is the band performing their musical interventions.
Jessica Voorsanger payed homage to William Shakespeare on the 11th of June 2016 by leading a parade of Tudor musicians and actors through the town centre of Scunthorpe. It was one of the many events connected to Shakespeare400 that North Lincolnshire Library have organised. The actors were drama students from North Lindsey College. The reaction that they received was a combination of celebration and confusion!
Jessica Voorsanger appeared at the Art Car Boot Fair this 12th of June 2016 as one of her favourite Star Trek characters, Captain Kirk. She proceeded to show Captain Kirk’s drawing skills off by drawing portraits to the ACBF as Mr. Spock. Live Long and Prosper…
Reg Perfect & The Squeegees was an exhibition curated by Leigh Clarke. The participating artists were asked to ‘interpret’ what kind of band that they were. It was a predominantly printmaking exhibition, hence the band name being a play on printmaking terms ‘registration perfect’ and squeegees. Jessica Voorsanger’s version of the band was as a ‘glam rock’ band. Her contribution was both a poster, where she posed as all of the members of the band and an installation of the band’s dressing room. The dressing room included their costumes, make-up, rider and pre-show food requests, beer & cigarettes. On the preview night there was a performance, which included Leigh Clarke as Reg, of the band.
This performance took place at The Art Car Boot Fair. Following on from the previous year’s performance of Portraits by Amy Winehouse , playing on the theme of tourists having their portraits drawn. In this case, the portraits of the visitors were drawn in charcoal but in the style of Henry Moore. The added element to the performance was that Jessica Voorsanger was dressed as Henry Moore while she created the portraits.
This performance took place at The Art Car Boot Fair. Playing on the theme of tourists having their portraits drawn. In this case, the portraits of the visitors were painted in oils, highly out of place in a street fair as they take up to a week to dry to the touch. They were also timed to take one hour. The added element to the performance was that Jessica Voorsanger was dressed as Amy Winehouse while she created the portraits.
Performances: Jessica Voorsanger often uses performance as a medium within her work, either by performing herself or by inviting visitors to participate in interactive exhibitions. The Impostor Series relies quite heavily on the use of costumes and interactivity, often through the inclusion of karaoke.
Fan-a-GramsThis performative artwork was based on the idea of a telegram. The only difference was that instead of receiving a telegram/message the recipient received a screaming fan club of approx 5-10 girls demanding their autograph, telling them that they loved them, etc. The instructions that the girls had were to be persistent until they had received their autographs. The recipients of the Fan-a-Grams were nominated by a friend. Once the autograph was obtained, they were given a certificate authenticating the experience (and letting them know who selected them to receive the experience) and a badge that stated: “I have been Fan-a-Grammed by Jessica Voorsanger’s Official posse of Fans”. The Fan-a-Grams were always held at a public event, ie. Livestock Market, The Hayward Gallery, etc.
Jessica Voorsanger has turned part of the Substation into a TV stage-set reminiscent of the strange and often hostile planets visited by the Enterprise’s crew in the original series of Gene Roddenberry’s much-loved Star Trek (Original Series, also known as TOS). Visitors are invited to dress in detailed replica costumes of the famous Star Trek uniforms and act-out scenes which will be instantly recorded via a replica 1960’s TV studio camera and played back via monitors situated in the space. Scripts, props, costumes & make-up were provided.