“A Minor Language” – Samantha Johns at Villa R

Samantha is a Minneapolis based performance maker and designer who investigates contemporary spectatorship by blending artistic disciplines, building immersive environments and devising non-narrative performance installations.
Her art is fundamentally concerned with the complex relationships humans have with each other and the depths at which we believe we know one another.

The artist spent a year, since September 2014-15, making a list of people she knows, still adding names to this file. Her definition of known is, -“I have to feel something when I think of the person.”-

Samantha started writing letters in September 2015 at Tofte Residency and has written 1/3rd of all letters. In the last year the artist has done residencies at ROAM (Miami, FL 2017) and Drop Forge (Hudson, NY 2018). Also, in february 2018 she builted a draft installation at NC State University using letters students wrote. The experiment helped clarify and refine the physionomy of her next piece.

The project the artist has been working on at Villa R is called “Missives: a Minor Language” A solo work where Samantha is writing a letter to every person she has ever known (2,703+ people)! The piece will culminate as a month-long installation, where all letters are open for the public to read, and she will be present reading all letters aloud.

Missives is a meditation on the contemporary perplexity of connection, self identity, and the human desire to be known and understood. An exhaustive process using memory as a (failed) archive, exploiting the public/private space of one person’s history. Visitors walk through this attempt at marking and holding a life; indexed through it’s connections.

Samantha believes that this project is a paramount step on her artistic path as she is making a piece that uses all her artistic disciplines simultaneously: merging design, writing, performance, and direction into one uniform piece. This work aims to speak to a much broader community than her art has never done before.

The project is quite huge and intense and the artist was actively seeking dedicated time to work on a project inline with her professional track, that has an official ending point;

Villa R seems to be also this time an ideal setting for such a capstone. Upon leaving Villa R the artist wants the piece to feel ready and on track for it’s install in 2019/2010 in Minneapolis, MN.

While at Villa R the artist wrote already 56 letters, which was more than she expected herself!

Samantha’s work can be see on this link: https://samanthajohns.carbonmade.com/

Follow Samantha on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samantha_jo_johns/?hl=en

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