In 1972, renowned video and performance artist Joan Jonas created a video called "Vertical Roll" in which she used the vertical roll caused by two out-of-sync frequencies -- the frequency sent to the monitor and the frequency by which it is interpreted -- to create perceptual illusions. For example, the roll seems to jump slightly, sticking to the bottom of the monitor and then bouncing back up. Today she uses the term to describe her work with overlapping media such as poetry, sculpture, film and dance in an "out-of-sync manner, questioning our perception of the image."
Recently appointed as a professor in the Department of Architecture's Visual Arts Program, Professor Jonas is also using the term as the title of her talk on Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 6:30pm in Rm 10-250.
Professor Jonas's experiments and productions in the late 1960s and early 1970s influenced generations of artists. Her influence was crucial to the development of contemporary art in many genres -- from performance and video to conceptual art and theater. Her most recent work continues to explore the relationship of new digital media to performance.
This spring, Professor Jonas is teaching "Performance/Object/Space/Point of View," an independent study workshop in which students explore narrative and storytelling through video, performance, and/or installation. Each student will choose and work on a particular story or poem, explore MIT for location sites for performance and installation, and utilize objects, cameras, bodies and movement to create a final work.
"I'm very excited about the possibilities of working here," said Professor Jonas. "There is amazing work going on and I'm looking forward to being part of this community."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 9, 2000.