Jancar Jones is excited to announce an exhibit of new work by Joel Dean. The Mutant and the Melody is a participatory exhibition that explores the parallels between different modes of cultural transmission.
The show takes its structure from the dichotomy of an ancient form of cultural inheritance, the fable. It includes two pieces that remain in flux for the full duration of the exhibition. Like the driving forces in the narrative of a fable, the pieces work together to perform a story from which the audience can extract a pithy maxim about shared human consciousness. Historically fables present morals. The wording of a moral may differ between cultures, and how a fable is recited may shift over time, but the lessons presented in fables are universal. They reflect a cross-cultural consensus of the human experience.
The history of the fable is, up until the industrial revolution, mostly an oral history. The fables we have today were arrived at over time through verbal re-duplication. They evolved in a manner analogous to the self-replication of a meme. Fables exist both as images and as stories, but they also relay behaviors. They are one of the first user-generated structures for sociocultural imitation, and can serve as a model for understanding the shifts in information hierarchies that are occurring throughout society as our globalized economy moves away from a packaged good media towards a conversational media.
To highlight this connection, and to emphasize dialogue over dogma, The Mutant and the Melody presents two maxims that have recently been transformed into mantras through their extensive use on social networking websites. Neither maxim is the moral of the story. Instead, they operate as a call and response, working together to frame a key paradox facing the content generation: it is impossible for an individual to exist in a state of pure spontaneity while also working to document that existence.
Joel Dean (b. Atlanta, GA 1986) received his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. He studied at the Yale Norfolk Summer School of Music and Art in 2008, and attended the Ox-Bow School of Art as a Fellow in the summer of 2009. Recent exhibitions include Bodega in Philadelphia, Et Al in San Francisco and Alderman Exhibitions in Chicago. He currently lives in Oakland, CA where he co-directs a small artist-run project space called Important Projects. This is his first solo exhibition at the gallery.