Development: JANUARY 2018 - NOVEMBER 2018
Exhibition: OCTOBER 26, 2018 - NOVEMBER 24, 2018
All photos by Joseph Smooke taken during the Opening Reception + Costume Party on Friday, October 26, 2018, at Black + White Projects in San Francisco.
ARTIST | Black & White Projects | San Francisco
Be Jason was a year-long examination of self and being that culminated in a fully immersive, participatory installation and series of activations that invited audiences of all ages and identities to literally Be Jason through four station, each of which activated a different type of being: Map, Read, Make, Become.
Before entering the gallery, guests were asked to consent to Be Jason by writing or drawing their name on the door.
At the Map Jason station, a "Being Board" filled with photos, doodles, ramblings, and memorabilia overtook the east wall of the gallery and people were invited to use pink or black yarn to connect whatever they discovered.
On the southern wall in an intimate corner was Read Jason where Wyman deconstructed decades of letters others wrote to them into a set of magnetic poetry from which others could construct their own poems.
In the space next to poetry was Make Jason. Using paper cutouts that represented Jason (or others playing Jason), people adorned them using the materials provided (including old baby photos, report cards, and other personal items) and added them to the wall, and if someone made a paper Jason they could take a different paper Jason with them.
In the western most section of the gallery, a table with three different seats was pushed against a wall over which hung a television screen that played Jason's slowly blinking eyes. This station was Become Jason and hosted three unique ways to embody Jason. The first was Eat Jason. Based on Jason's Catholic upbringing, they airbrushed their silhouette onto communion wafers and asked folx seated to consume a wafer, say a prayer, and take a swig of moonshine, Jason's substitution for wine based on their families' and their own connection to Kentucky. There was also Divine Jason where folx could draw a card from a prototype of a creative divination deck based on Jason's personas and creative practice of insight, inquiry, and offerings. Finally, at Become Jason folx could dress up in Jason's drag, including their barista drag, youth worker drag, and monster drag.
Jason also created a prototype store based on the installation that included the publication of three books: A Manifestation of Jason, Parfables, and A Visual Catalogue: Volume One. A Manifestation of Jason is a collection of Jason's writings on blogs and social media that examine art + healing + education + politics + economics + youth work + sadness from October 2010 to December 2012. Parfables is a collection of myths, fables, and parables that explore the landscapes of truths. A Visual Catalogue: Volume One collects Jason's large collection of visual work into a single book that is sorted by category. The store also included a line of t-shirts and hoodies featuring Jason's face, divination symbols, and Parfables logo. Jason also produced copies of Divine Jason Cards and Creative Divination System. Postcards that had Jason's eyes printed as a mask on one side and had original black Sharpie drawings on the other were given away for free.
Over the course of the month-long installation, Jason hosted experiences that changed the engagement within the space. On opening night, Jason threw a Costume Party and provided paper masks of their eyes for anyone who did not come in costume. Jason read from A Manifestation of Jason and Parfables over the course of the evening. Another recontextualization occurred during SF Open Studios where Jason played as if the Black + White Projects gallery was their "Artist Studio". As people entered, they expected easy to define and purchasable art. Instead, Jason challenged them to interact instead of purchase as a way to create dialogue and critique around the role and purpose of art. This unexpected interaction made many visitors visibly uncomfortable. Finally, Jason hosted a closing potluck and giveaway as a means to celebrate the collectivity of the entirety of Be Jason. Jason made multiple dishes and asked folx to bring something to share. As the potluck unfolded, people were invited to find something (or multiple things) on the Map Jason Being Board that they wanted to take home with them. Jason then took the photo, drawing, rambling, or memorabilia off the wall and gave it to the person requesting it.