JESSA CARTA*


  1. Veriditas(2021)

  2. Night Blindness(2021)

  3. Twin Origin(2022)

  4. Breath Type(2021)

  5. Dead Reckoning(2018)

  6. LAND LAND(2017-present)

  7. Exchange Rate(2021)
  8. Lifespan Of A Memory(2019)

  9. Resting Eye Monument(2016)

  10. Charcoal Gestures(2020)

  11. Because I Was Standing(2017)

  12. Continous Connected(2016)
  13. LOVECITYLOVE(2013-2016)

  14. Project Doula (2013-present)
  15. Things People Say



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Jessa Carta is an omnidisciplinary artist and creative project consultant. She is compelled towards rhizomatic frameworks, pattern literacy and the healing power of ritual containers. Jessa is attuned to the ineffable wiggliness of nature and its harmonious systems/structures in equal measure.

Jessa’s work tracks the leading lines of value, identity and performativity and plays host and witness to the cycles of life <> death <> life present in our ecosystems and egosystems.

Jessa is a deep empath who opens herself to the collective unconscious and vows to give it expression. Her fierce belief in understanding and respecting authentic truths has led her down a path of seismic connections. What she creates has been described as possessing“a rare mythic perspective”, “assertions of feminine power” and Jessa herself has been referred to as “an underworld intermediary”.

Jessa is currently the prime mover of arts-based research project LAND LAND. Jessa is a founding member of the Seattle-based experimental collective LOVECITYLOVE - a diverse, accessible, and inclusive secular art church. Her education and research has included  certifications as a natural builder, permaculturalist, breath worker and solidarity economist. These interests intersect to net a practice committed to the regenaissance.

*Jessa’s patrilineal last name is Carter which means messenger, mail carrier or a person who carts goods. In a move towards less doing and more being, Carta replaces “the messenger” for the message itself from the Latin “paper” “map”.






Veriditas

(2021)



Improvised biophilic sound series of scene-setting interludes produced and recorded in the hand built “A”-frame annex of Jessa Carta and her partner Todd Shwayder in Berkeley, CA. Veriditas is also a non-linear map of the way under and through colonial capitalism’s impacts on the earth via industrial agriculture and mass sterilization of human and more-than-human cultures.  Video collage composed of found footage from the Prelinger Archive. Listen on Soundcloud




Night Blindness

(2021)





Motion created to mark the release of Night Blindness, an album composed and performed by Chantal Michelle at Iklectik Artlab in London designed for their ambisonic sound system. Prose by Jehn Hotes.

Twin Origin

(2022)



Ceramic anthropological morphisms and home objects.


Beath Type

(2021)




Breath Type is an installation of community sourced memes, mantras, refrains activated by holotropic breathwork. Filmed on 8mm film by Cleo Barnette.


Dead Reckoning

(2018)




Featured in JANE magazine issue seven (2019)

“Summer of 2017, my partner and I left Seattle, where we had lived for seven years, in a 1984 Westfalia Vanagon in search of land that we could cooperatvely steward. Fires were ubiquitous along the entire west coast. Four days in to our trip, van troubles began. At first, we could temporarily quell the issues ourselves but new mysterious problems arose and persisted. No mechanic could crack the code; we’d get 100 miles and break down again. We stayed patient, even as life was reduced to obtaining, installing, and testing new van parts. Our longest breakdown happened in Death Valley.  We spent long days walking through the desert, listening to the wind rushing through the canyons, and feeling our hot skin grow dry and fragile.

When we finally arrived in Los Angeles, I rendered out of clay every van part we replaced, and made images of them as archaic vestiges, as if recovered from a fire. This was a wish for a future memory that sometime in the far-off future we might unearth fragments of this toxic early Anthropocene, and these relics might be proof of something catastrophic that we avoided by the skin of our teeth.

Three years later, I was visited by a phoenix in my dreams—a reminder that in order to be reborn, we have to leave paradise and turn our attention to the sun, the Earth, and the moon, as told in the tale of this mythic bird. We have to let some parts of ourselves die off in order to fertilise new life.

As mortal beings supremely dependent on fossil fuels, we are not only feeding the flames devouring our planet, we are also clinging to a false sense of control. We’re accepting a projection of reality that benefits few and harms most. Being entranced by the illusion that we can defy time and space leads to the denial of our own mortality, the denial that we are of the Earth, that we are humans and not gods. In many cultures, we are led to believe that we are above nature rather than a part of it, that it should be bent to our will, and that we are exempt from its laws and cycles.

Being stranded in one of the hottest places in America without typical comforts to cover the reality of our limitations made clear the absurdity of our systems and made even clearer our unrealised potential to be positive contributors to our planet. I always intended to make salt prints from the negatives of the original images developed by the sun’s light. I knew they needed to be rendered in a haptic-centred process and that our sun needed to be the central force. These images are born from physicality and landscape; they question the motives of our human-made technologies, the superhuman extensions of our faculties.

The negatives were enlarged and printed on a specific type of transparency. Paper was then coated with a mixture of salt and water. The salt-coated paper was taken into a darkroom and coated again with silver nitrate. The transparency was laid over the paper and compressed behind glass before being exposed to full sun. Over time, the light-sensitive silver nitrate darkened to reveal a mirrored image of the negative on the paper.

Making these prints was partly about illumination and partly about obscuration. They are a lesson I’ve learnt about going into the dark. You go out into the world and take all these snapshots of what you’ve found, capturing what you can of life, but going into the darkroom to process is what enables the images to reveal their distilled messages. And emerging to face the blinding sun is how you make them resound.”


LAND LAND

(2017-present)




LAND LAND is a project in development since 2017. Interested in arts-based research and reskilling for the regenaissance LAND LAND is an open source compendium of resources, a collection of micro residencies and an eventual IRL long term land stewarding community. 

first image
Seb Choe at LAND LAND residency space in Southern OR wearing JRAT

second image 
Log side table made by Kim Upstill 

third image
Kendra Dalley wearing JRAT

fourth image 
Kelly Randolph workshopping a restorative meal plan


Project Doula

(2013-present)

above  Bigger Than The Universe and Greater Than The World (2021)- a book designed by Jessa Carta as an archive and retelling of herbalist/educator and writer Rachelle Robinett’s father's passing. This book is a product of GRIEF MAPPING, a process/practice guided by Laura Sullivan Cassidy

below Filmed over the span of a week in Sicily, Rebirth (2019) is a mythic, improvisational study of chaos and tragedy, the depths of the underworld, and its opening into creative metamorphosis and power.

Written, produced, and performed by Alma Tetto after her husband’s passing. 
Director of photography, creative direction, and editing by Jessa Carta.
Score by Petra (Chantal Michelle and Brian Allen Simon)





above
Night Rind Launch Party (2021)- an installation and event to celebrate the publication of Night Rind, a novella by Kim Upstill.

Sculptural works and event design by Kim Upstill.
Assistant production and documentation by Jessa Carta.


below 
Soft Vertigo by Sophia Sanford - a 6 track EP 

Album artwork, website design, R.F.O.M. music video direction & editing by Jessa Carter




Do you need help giving birth to a creative project? I can assist you and hold your hand and tell you to push or breath while we make a film, audio work, sculptural object, body-based score, document your art show, produce your event, strategizes around your website, design your book, make your album artwork, program a retreat or workshop, make a shrine or sacred space in your home, find the story for your next podcast, develop a mission driven business plan and pitch deck, collaborate with chaos, find your next medium or mode of expression. 


Exchange Rate

(2022)








Exchange Rate is an exploration in ethical and embody image making that coaxes a process rooted in reciprocity, engages the muscle of platonic intimacy, and clocks the labor of both seeing and being seen. 

Exchange Rate employs play, care, protracted attention, thoughtful observation, flow states and witnessing. 

This is an on-going and iterative practice. 

Many thanks to Kendra Dailey and Lana Sharp for being my very first exchange rate partners.


Lifespan Of A Memory

(2016)








Featured in JANE magazine issue six (2018)


What’s the lifespan of a memory?
What determines the shelf life of a memory?
 
As a teen I used to be terrified of forgetting, as if memories were a form of currency that could buy
someone an identity or proof of a life well lived, or the perminance of what must inherently pass.

But can you live off a memory? Can you eat memories? How are they digested? What do
they give way to when they evetually pass? Who dies when they die? Is your actual time of death the
moment you’re forgotten? Where do the memories go—into the earth with us or into the unknowable darkness?

After returning from a massively expanding trip to Sicily with artist Alma Tetto to film Rebirth I craved to absorb more of what emereged, I wanted to be with the images and drop them into my cells. A time-based ritual felt like the container that could most lean into the true/false nature of memory. Our measurment of time is after all a construction and yet its passage is unquestionable.

I thought that the hourglass I had acquired measured one hour. I wanted to make thirty frames of double exposed images so I planned for two minutes per frame. One plane of the image would be the documentation from Sicily, the second plane would show the hour glass in the moment of revisitation.

After about the fifth frame, I realised that while I had to focus on the details, I also needed to loosen my grip. What I really wanted, and what I really needed, was to be with those images. To be with those memories.
I started to pay closer attention to how I handled each printed photo I was staging. How I put them up on the
wall. How I saw them again through the lens and tried to replay them in my mind, the actual
moments. And then, to replay them again while looking at the sand grains falling through
the hourglass. It started to become a meditation.

The sand started slipping really quickly, and I realised that I wasn’t even halfway through the
stack of images. I started to go faster and then noticed that I could see myself in the
reflection of the hourglass, which was not what I wanted. I had to get a bed sheet. The same
white sheet that I’d been trying to wash for six days.

I was running out of time, which I didn’t quite understand; Was my perception of time completely breaking with reality? A couple of images later and the sand slipped completely through the glass. Time was
up. I thought, Maybe it’s not going to be the way I envisioned it. But it was just part of the
ritual, part of the process. I needed to keep going, so I flipped the hourglass and recommited to being present with the images and emotions. 

From then on I kept going at an intuitive rate, and payed no mind to my previous two minute marker. As I
started to feel the sun come out and I saw the light refracting freshly, the shadows became more
dynamic on the hourglass. I decided to just wait. To sit and wait and watch and listen. I
started to notice the folds in the fabric of the white bed sheet in the reflection of the
hourglass and saw how each dimenstion began to collapse into one soup of existance. 

I got to the end of the pile of photographs, looking at how many frames I had left, and it had
worked out perfectly. I’d made two mistakes that I’d had to redo. I noticed it right after they
happened, which is not historically the way things go. I realised that I really wanted to
document the change in the environment with the last two frames, to pull back on what the
ritual actually looked from outside of the process, so, I took one long horizontal shot, and I got up on a chair to take one vertical shot, and as I snapped the shutter, the alarm on my phone went off. I’d set it for on hour. So all along, I’d thought this hourglass ran for one hour, but really it was half an hour,
and I took my last frame at exactly one hour, which is what I had intended. 

The time when the alarm went off, it was 11:02 a.m. One, one, zero, two, a kind of imperfect mirror image, not an exactly identical reflection but a balances one nonetheless. 


Resting Eye Monument

(2016)

4 Hour Durational Performance, The Terminal Sales Building, 3rd flr, 1st ave, Seattle, Wa
May 1st, Sunday, during the May Day Protest, 2016

Twelve artists, three Prime Movers Jessa Carta, Jillayne Hunter, KB Thomas. The event was unadvertised, guests received invitations by mail. Forty-three guests attended. 

Themes embedded in the work and it's process : understanding as the revelation of incomprehension, facades of civility, roles, fables, mythos, ceremony, animus mundi, digital image consumption, diachronic still image narratives, time as a circle, reconstruction of reality by group / individual transmutation, transiency, channeled arcane half-memories of other lives and concurrent realities, the further embodiment of a matriarchal shift.

Kodak Portra 400 Still Images, Digital Still Images and Polaroid Still Images by Jessa Carter, kb Thomason, Jillayne Hunter, Christopher Williams, and Sohail Fazluddin. VHS footage by Lucien Pellegrin.

Supporting Artists : Ria Leigh, Ari Leigh, Alan Sutherland, Michele Andrews, Azure Andrews, Sam Anderson, Lucien Pellegrin, Zachary Self, Jennifer Hotes, Hanna Yohannes, Connor Goulding, Isabella Du Graf, Aarin Wright, Olisa Enrico, Daniel Blue.
 


Documentation of Resting Eye Monument was designed and published by Companion Platform and showcased at the San Francisco Art Book Fair as a catalog of images and an aleatory index, documented once, twice, three times removed, from a performance that took place in The Terminal Sales Building in Seattle, WA, on May 1st, 2016 during the May Day Protests.

Edited by Jessa Carta, the unbound book of folded sheets comprises of images by Jessa Carta, kb Thomason, Jillayne Hunter, Christopher Williams, Lucien Pellegrin, and Sohail Fazluddin, with captions by Jenn Hotes and Kim Upstill. The images correspond to captions within the index, creating a delicate precarity in the pages remaining unbound… if disheveled both image and index will spiral into poetic abstraction. The title of the book is hidden and dispersed throughout the creases in the spine. Pages of the book have been used as wall coverings, wrapping paper, placemats, and eventually a score for further performances.


Charcoal Gestures

(2020)







Because I Was Standing

(2017)





Single channel video, premiered at The Northwest Film Forum as part of Yellow Fish Festival, Seattle, Wa. 

Original score by William Hayes and Maria Scherer Wilson

A short film expanding on the work of author Clarice Lispector, attempts to nest notions of foreignness, commoditization, motherhood and mother tongue within a dialog-less visual framework that references Lispector’s unconventional use of language to depict non-linear time. The film explores the pursuit of balance between the masculine and feminine aspects of being, the feminine as intrinsic bridge to the wild and to our planets mysteries, and patriarchy’s modus operandi of violent suppression of feminine wisdom with little regard for the unexamined consequences of a world devoid of life/death/life doulas.


C , O , N , T , I , N , U , O , U , S :
C . O . N . N . E . C . T . E . D .

(2016)


3 Hour Durational Performance in collaboration Ria Leigh and installation at Art Helix, Brooklyn, NY

If the [confines] of a form inform the e s c a p e from it, then to work in time is to work with with time towards liberation from time.

This work featured ceramic sculpture, sustained vocalization and a constructed environment.


LOVECITYLOVE

(2013-2017)





Jessa was a prime mover of LOVECITYLOVE’s second iteration housed in an expansive historical building on the corner of Pike and Summit. In subsequent years she was instrumental in the project’s growth as part of a small team that activated more 5 iconic locations throughout Seattle until the winter of 2017. 

Documentary Short by Avi Loud


Things People Say





Jessa’s films and pictures are poems, secrets, songs, utopian and dystopian prayers. She is a gentle being with a fierce point of view. In general she and her doings/beings fall right into my favorite pocket of 70’s romanticism combined with the contemporary surreal. Get ready to daydream about her and her work forever.  
Her photos achieve a kind of hallowed, supra-planar quality but also still rooted in everyday things, reminding us that we can escape the mundane because the mundane is as much our psychic creation as the sacred.
                                                      -Blair Hansen


Your Spain film moved me so deeply — you clearly let the collective unconscious express itself through you as its medium. I’m in awe and admiration of the strength you carry as an artist, as it takes supreme energy to withstand the unconscious in that way and remain whole and intact as a person.
                                          -Alma Bigham Tetto


One of the most empowering and vital components to Jessa’s intention as an artist and community member is her empathy. Her fierce belief in understanding, respecting, and finding true authenticity of any one person or group of people has led her down a path of potent connections.  
                       -Babette DeLafayette Pendleton



The term “visual fluency” was coined to describe the talents of people like Jessa Carter. The Northern California-born artist, photographer, graphic designer, stylist, curator and creative director works across a range of mediums, from commercial projects to fine art, applying to each her unerring, highly stylized eye.
                                         - City Arts Magazine



A great eye, powerful compositions, capturing and creating a moment, emotional connection, synthesis, and spirit.   
                                      - Bran Ferrin



...all the strange feelings the film stirs up....

i’ll try to describe it here in a selected list:

beginning of time

first breath of oxygen

sticking your hands into a bowl of firm jello

insects being born

there experience you have when peeling an orange and carefully removing all the little pithy parts

all wrapped up in a blanket of mysterious tension

not a bad tension, but maybe more of a curious tension

As someone who makes films, I know how much work it all is, to get the details right.
                                        - Theresa Wingert 



What shamanic activation of the experience….that much intentionality has so much juice…it’s like a memory of something we all could do, have done, will do.  AN INVITATION!!!!!!!!!!! 
                                        -  Lisa Fitzhugh


I am forever grateful for Jessa, a badass creative with a mind of a genius and a heart of gold who took a chance on a stranger to bring to life a vision
                                        - Cleo Barnette