Scenic Jogging @ the Guggenheim

Miami-based visual artist Jillian Mayer has hit it big. Her short film Scenic Jogging is being showcased in YouTube Play: A Creative Video Biennial, a special exhibit at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, which will also be seen at the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao, Berlin, and Venice. Mayer’s Scenic Jogging was selected as one of the top 25 films from over 23,000 entries from 91 countries by panelists such as filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, band Animal Collective, and artists Laurie Anderson, Douglas Gordon,  Marilyn Minter and Takashi Murakami. Jillian was also one of three artists chosen for a special profile featuring her life and work. A documentary film crew flew down to Miami to showcase Jillian and the local art scene, and their documentary was played at the Guggenheim as well. Scenic Jogging was produced by the Borscht Film Festival, which has facilitated the work of Miami filmmakers being screened at venues such as the Cannes and Tribeca Film Festivals.

I talked to Jillian about the contest, Borscht and next steps… How did the idea for the video come about? Scenic jogging was a video piece that I have wanted to make for several months. It was a jump from some of the other mediums I had been working in but it still deals with my fascination between the real and artificial imagery. The images projected in Scenic Jogging are computer generated or enhanced nature pictures designed to be screensavers and desktop pictures for computers. I have always had an interest in supplied imagery, and in this case, I am dealing with the content that is provided as stock for your computer desktop backgrounds.

It is so interesting how we are given various images of nature to gaze at while we are submissively starring at our computer screens for hours on end. I can’t figure it out if it is a joke from the computer companies or they actually think the pictures are soothing. Maybe they are, but I always found them somewhat terrifying.

Was it made for the contest or just in the context of your practice? I had developed the idea a several months back and let it sit in a notebook. I have a habit of coming up with something and not revisiting it to actually make it until I can see it almost fully completed in my head. A brain is a great place for sorting out your details.

Tell me about working with the Borscht guys.. I first met them when they had an open call for submissions for their festival last year. I thought it was open format, but they were specifically looking for narrative shorts to commission. I submitted a mock cable- access episodic version of a talk show about pet owners. Entitled Fanimaltastic, the show’s main concept was to discuss animal clothing trends and how to make your pet a more relevant member of society. Needless to say, I was not commissioned. But they did invite me in for an interview (probably to find out if I was a crazy cat lady or not) and told me that they were open to helping young film makers and artists develop and produce quality work and I knew right away that I wanted to collaborate with them, even if they were not interested in producing Fanimaltastic.

I attended their packed festival last year at the Gusman Center and saw that they could support all their rhetoric about building an internationally-recognized community of independent filmmakers. Ten months later, images of Wynwood from my film were being projected all over the Guggenheim. Working with them is great because they are smart, fast, and motivated. I have recently joined their team serving as Art Director on several short works and commercial projects.

How did you find out about the contest? From Borscht! It came to me via email. Oh, glorious Internet.

How did you feel when you found out you had won?­ It was such big news, that I honestly did not understand what it entailed.

What does winning mean to your practice? Will it take you in a different direction artistically? Where can we see you work next? I have some amazing things coming up! First off, art collector Dennis Scholl is curating a drawing show, The Maginot Line, which opens in December for Art Basel at David Castillo Gallery. The lineup of artists for this show are amazing and I am so happy and humbled to be included among these talents like Claes Oldenerg, De Kooning. and Dubuffet.

Then in February, my first solo show opens at David Castillo Gallery. It will be a combination of installation and performance.

I have been working on some short films and I have a fundraiser up on Kickstarter for one project I am trying to finish. Mrs. Ms, is an experimental theatre work that I created that premiered at the Adrienne Arsht Center that was commissioned by Miami Light Project through the James L. Knight Foundation and I am now adapting it to film. Like the play, the movie will be weird and full of original music.

I may have the chance to create a short film work starring Luther Campbell (aka. Uncle Luke), from 2 Live Crew. This project would also be commissioned through the Borscht Film Festival.

Also, please spread the word that I am looking for submissions for which is a contemporary survey of video art, which will be released in quarterly installments as a DVD zine. There are only two submission rules- 1. All work must be entertaining. 2. It must be under 3 minutes. I hope to get tons of interesting submissions.

Update: Jillian spoke with Interview Magazine about making YouTube art, Knight Foundation and more – click here to read the complete story.