Both Players Move
Erin Johnson and Jessica Hankey
In the Gallery
In Salidas y Entradas / Exits and Entrances, seniors in El Paso, Texas use the hallways, auditoriums, and kitchens of city-run senior recreation centers as a stage to explore acting and improvisation. To make the film, artists Jessica Hankey and Erin Johnson brought in a theatre director and created a series of performance workshops. With the senior center’s institutional spaces as stand-ins for the rest of the world, the senior actors use the workshops to improvise scenes for the camera that explore social and political imaginaries. Salidas is a layered film that combines documentary footage of recreational activities at the senior centers (bingo, line dancing, water aerobics) with fictional, improvised scenes that range from comic send-ups of television melodrama, to uncannily realistic encounters with authorities such as an unyielding traffic cop and an unsympathetic bank teller. Themes emerge such as gender as performance, the role of musical storytelling as a soundtrack to daily life, and the dynamics of the U.S.- Mexico border. As the boundaries between rehearsal, improvisation, and performance blur, the ways in which individual lives and sociopolitical realities merge together are foregrounded.
Jessica Hankey’s single-channel video installation Le Survivant (the Survivor) (2020) looks at the 1979 record sale of William Nelson Copley’s collection of Surrealist art through the lens of former sex worker Marjorie Annapav, who married Copley a year after the auction in exchange for $600,000. Through a nonlinear, looping narrative that reverberates with intimacy and distance, the short film at the center of the project follows Annapav as she works with a performance coach to develop a one-woman show about her life. Objects and wall pieces draw from the visual vocabularies of works in Copley’s collection. Le Survivant highlights paradoxes of value—the worth ascribed to precious works of art, to erotic intimacies, and to human beings across a lifespan.
Erin Johnson’s single and multi-channel video installations are comprised of footage of site-specific performances that explore how power structures are communicated through relationships, and focus on histories of nationalism and place. Her work has been exhibited at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Berkeley Art Museum, Portland Museum of Art, Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, Vox Populi, and the Telfair Museums. She received an MFA and Certificate in New Media from UC Berkeley in 2013 and attended Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2019. She will be an artist-in-residence in Spring 2020 at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY.
Jessica Hankey is an interdisciplinary artist whose installations combine modes of video and photographic practices to explore the social life of institutions. Her projects have been funded by the NY State Council on the Arts and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and shown at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA, CTRL+SHFT in Oakland, CA, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and Anthology Film Archives. She has held residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, the Millay Colony, MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists, and the Vermont Studio Center. She is a 2019 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow.