Jessica Curry I carry your heart, 2008
'Not my language
but a voice
chanting in patterns
survives on earth
not history’s bones
but vocal tones'
Allen Ginsberg 
Selected by Angela Beck
Music and sound are at the centre of Jessica Curry’s practice. Classically trained as a composer, Curry’s work explores the relationship between sound and moving image, between the framed nature of the visual and the diffuse character of the aural. Curry’s sound pieces combine traditional instrumentation, spoken word, song, and other vocal sounds like sighs and whispers. They are contemplative, often haunting compositions that exist in a variety of contexts: commissioned music for films and documentaries, video games and art installations and as a central element of her own experiments with film, video and digital media.
Dan Pinchbeck’s commissioned work 'Dear Esther' (2008) is an open-ended, first person computer game that rejects conventional goal-driven plots and invites users instead to wander through vast, bleak landscapes to collect fragments of narrative. Curry’s music and sound compositions evoke strangeness, disorientation, and loss. This melancholia and its relationship to digital technology and disembodiment is equally explored in 'The Second Death of Caspar Helendale' (2008), a performance in Second Life that follows the last days of an online avatar.  The work, also created in collaboration with Pinchbeck, involved the creation of a virtual memorial where participants could gather, a Book of the Dead that registers the names of dead avatars along with the reasons for which they were erased into non-existence, and a mournful requiem. 'I carry your heart' (2008) represents a more autobiographical direction in Curry’s practice; the film features images of beating hearts and home videos projected onto a woman’s torso, accompanied by music and a female voice singing the words of the E.E. Cummings poem, ‘I carry your heart with me’.  Together the images and music become a compelling, if sombre celebration of love, motherhood and the fragile human body.
Jessica Curry The Second Death of Caspar Helendale, 2008
Jessica Curry Dear Esther, 2007 - 2008
1. Allen Ginsburg, The Fall of America: Poems of These States 1965-1971, (London: City Lights, 2001)
2. Second life is a virtual world which enables its users to interact with each other through avatars. http://secondlife.com/
3. E. E. Cummings, Complete poems, 1913-1962, (New York: Harcourt, 1972)
Angela Beck is an Edinburgh-based artist and writer. She is also and co-director of EMBASSY Gallery.
Jessica Curry on Axis
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