Spotlight: Danielle Jacques

This week we’ll be exploring the work of artist Danielle Jacques, who’s piece ‘I find myself in a strange loop’ is currently on display in our annual exhibition. Featuring work from the new cohort of artists making up the ‘2019 Collection’, the exhibition is running until 29th November at our partner TM Lighting‘s gallery. Email info@tmlighting.com to book an appointment, open weekdays only.

Danielle is currently studying MA Fine Art Digital at Camberwell College of Arts and will graduate in 2020.

Can you give us more of an insight into the ideas and themes behind the works in your current collection showcased on Made in Arts London?

The works being showcased are an investigation into human perception and the ability of art to represent or induce altered states of consciousness. Altered states include meditation, hypnosis, psychedelic hallucination, and sleep.

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Danielle (right) talking about her work at the annual exhibition private view.

The subject matter of these works is the material quality of ink observed through photography and film. Applied in a freeform way ink can communicate movement and the fluidity can be frozen in motion on paper, or captured in flow as it disperses through water using video.

The abstract nature of ink patterns creates is ambiguous and I use this ambiguity to play on the way which we perceive the world.

“Pareidolia” is the tendency to interpret a vague stimulus as something known to the viewer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns. This phenomenon is a long standing interest of mine and is explored through my symmetrical ink films, such as “I find myself in a strange loop”.

Your current piece on display at TM Lighting Gallery, ‘I find myself in a strange loop’ is beautifully hypnotic, can you tell us a bit more about the inspirations behind this piece and the others in your collection?

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‘I find myself in a strange loop‘ video piece at TM Lighting.

At the time the work was created I was reading Douglas Hofstadter’s book “I am a strange loop” where he tries to map consciousness onto a self-referential model.

A “strange loop” is a cycle where a structure goes through several levels of hierarchical systems. It arises when, by moving upwards or downwards through the system one finds oneself back where they started. Escher’s self-drawing hands are an example of this.

Hofstader argues that the psychological Self arises out of a similar kind of paradox. We are not born with an “I” – the ego emerges only gradually as experience shapes our dense web of active symbols into a tapestry rich and complex enough to begin twisting back upon itself.

The process by which the work was created was self-referential, i.e. each work explicitly builds on the last in a conscious manner by layering imagery from previous films, collages, or photographs. The more and more layers I add, the more complex and abstract the visuals become. Much like a strange loop my work gets pushed up and down through set processes, some digitally automated and some self-directed seemingly at whim.

Are there any specific artists or practitioners who you feel have had some influence on your work?

The collaborations DJ Max Cooper has engaged in has been a primary source of influence for the subject matter and construction of my video work. His album and live audio-visual show “Emergence” tell the stories of natural laws and processes and their inherent beauty.

Artists such as Yoko Ono and Marina Abramović have worked with the theme of meditation whilst exploring the notion of material absence within their practice. The idea of emptiness – of minimalism, reduction and simplicity. “Emptiness” is a key principle of Eastern philosophies which represents seeing through the illusion of independent self-nature.

Whilst I intend to create similarly meditative environments involving audience participation my work explores the way in which the mind can reach an altered state not just through absence, but through technological presence.

What inspires you particularly about the medium you currently work in?

The aesthetic experience of the movement of ink, the reflection of light or the falling of shadows never fails to inspire me and digital tools allow me to take the “sublime” into the “technological sublime”.

However, whilst the endless creative possibilities of digital tools is exciting it can also be extremely overwhelming. By working with my source material as a form of meditation-in-action it provides a grounding force which prevents me from over-working the imagery and losing the essence of the original experience.

Installation is where I want to take my work next, to create multi-sensory experiences which fully immerse the audience so they can transcend normal conscious experience.

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Danielle at TM Lighting Gallery for the annual exhibition private view.

Come meet Danielle Jacques at Canopy Market on Saturday 30th November, anytime from 13:00 – 14:00 for her free drop-in workshop, ‘Tremendous Tetrahedrons’ and learn to make your own festive origami decoration!

“The practice of mindfulness has it’s roots in meditation. Mindfulness can be practiced during everyday activities or in relation to a specific task. Origami is a task which lends itself well to mindfulness. Creating something using only a piece of paper and your hands means you can focus on just the paper, blocking out your surroundings. This can become very relaxing and almost meditative.”

Participants will walk away with a beautiful origami tetrahedron in a linen gift bag, made using paper specially printed for the workshop and inspired by the unique designs created in Danielle’s recent audio-visual installation ‘Phasing II Infinity‘.

There’s no need to book just turn up on the Saturday, anytime from 13:00 – 14:00, this workshop and all materials are free. Suitable for all ages although children under 8 may need the assistance of an adult. 

Browse Danielle Jacques work on Made in Arts London here or follow her on Instagram @djartworks.