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© Clara Jo

Online creation

Towards the Horizon

by Clara Jo

From 16 October 2023 to 14 April 2024

Jeu de Paume – Online

Towards the Horizon is an online project that reveals Clara Jo‘s personal research archive and speculative filmmaking techniques, which also informed her single-channel film Nests of Basalt, Nests of Wood (2023).

The online project

© Clara Jo

From the ancient to the present day, the online work remixes archival material, poetry, mythologies, visual references, sketches, 3D models, and filmic raw material into a new work about the textures and memories associated with places of physical and psychological isolation (both imagined and real) and the traces humans leave behind that allude to life and death. The presentation feels like an endless stream of thoughts approaching and receding from an infinite horizon.  What arises is an invitation to converse within the artist’s personal archive, to listen, and to read the terrain in new ways within nautical worlds.

© Clara Jo

The film

The single-channel film Nests of Basalt, Nests of Wood presents a speculative narrative of labor and ecological histories in Mauritius, filmed in Albion and Flat Island combined with a fictional space of CG animation.  The film is narrated through the perspective of the Paille-en-queue bird, who has inherited oral histories from their ancestors of all they have witnessed from an aerial perspective.  Spanning different elevations and time registers, stories from an unmarked cemetery in Albion and 19th-century quarantine station Flat Island question erased histories from colonial archives as quiet acts of commemoration. By locating these deep erasures through fiction, the film offers alternate readings of the terrain through their material imprints and geological scars in order to tell these difficult stories of disappearance and bondage.

The artist

Clara Jo, born in the United States in 1986, lives and works in Berlin. She is a graduate of Bard College and the Universität der Künste. She works with film, photography and installation to reformulate apprehensions of the world by mixing the senses. She plays with speculative narratives and proposes alternative readings of official historical discourse through material imprints and their erasure. In her work, she summons the human and non-human gaze in order to imagine collective fictions in response to moments of crisis.

Her work has been shown at Martin Gropius Bau (Berlin), Centre Pompidou (Paris), ARKO Art Center (Seoul), Royal Academy of Arts (London), Spike Island (Bristol), Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin) and Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst (Oldenburg). Her grants and residencies include Art Explora (Paris), Akademie Schloss Solitude (Stuttgart) and Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (United States).

Curator : Marta Ponsa, head of public programs at Jeu de Paume.

Concept and Design: Studio Lob & Theodor Hillmann
Website Development: Theodor Hillmann
3D Models: Noam Rezgui
Score and Sound Mix: Graeme Arnfield
Voiceover Text: Aqiil Gopee

Special Thanks: Art Explora Paris, Goethe-Institut London, Gropius Bau Berlin, The Mauritian Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (MACH) Project.