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Supporting the future(s) we want

Stephanie Barber

Edgar Degas, from Jhana and the Rats of James Old


digital video/ sound

Runtime: 1:00

Courtesy of the Artist

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Edgar Degas considers the implications of 'biography' with the tools of humor and poetics. The text is read by a museum patron visiting the exhibition.

Between June 25th and August 7th 2011 I moved my studio into the Baltimore Museum of Art where I created a new video each day in a central gallery open to museum visitors. The goal of this project, entitled Jhana and the rats of James Olds or 31 days/31 videos, was to create a series of short, poetic videos in the playful and serious footprints of Oulipo games and daily meditations; creating one new video each day. The exhibit was both a constantly changing installation as well as a collaborative performance in which museum visitors were present as spectator, and often creative, partner.

The works, now removed from the course of production, display a fascination with the philosophical implications of photographic images; an acute awareness of our mortality and a desire to engage the formal concepts of ‘narrative’ in unexpected ways. The videos consider these concepts with humor, pathos and imagination.

Each of these videos premiered the day after their creation at the BMA, they have all since screened numerous times either as single pieces or as a collection.


Stephanie Barber is a writer and artist who has created a poetic, conceptual and philosophical body of work in a variety of media, often literary/visual hybrids that dissolve boundaries between narrative, essay and dialectic works. Her work considers the basic philosophical questions of human existence (its morbidity, profundity and banality) with play and humor. Her videos are distributed by Video Data Bank and her films can be found at Canyon Cinema and Her books Night Moves and these here separated... were published by Publishing Genius Press in 2013 and 2010 respectively. Her collection of very short stories All The People was published by Ink Press Productions in 2015. Her haiku collection Status Update Vol. 1 was published in the fall of 2019 by CTRL+P and her full length play Trial in the Woods will be published by Plays Inverse in Autumn 2020.