Interview: Jourdan Tymkow on Visceral Murmurs

Jourdan Tymkow, a Kelowna native, has been living in Vancouver for three years now, two of which were spent immersed in the creative resources at her disposal as an in-house photographer and art director with lululemonlab. In addition to working at her BFA at Emily Carr, she is preparing to expand her practice as a result of her successes with the interdisciplinary nature of Visceral Murmurs–an night of interactive performances and a book launch, meditating on identity, migration, and belonging, featuring OURO Collective’s personal cultures and identities.

See Visceral Murmurs in action this Saturday at Vivo Media Arts Centre. Get tickets here

SM: What was your intention in creating Visceral Murmurs?

JT: Visceral Murmurs has been process oriented project. I was asked by OURO Collective to direct a 20 minute dance after a successful collaboration the year prior. I had never done anything like this before but knew it was too good an opportunity to pass up, so I think the intention was really to figure out how to direct a dance and document it. 

SM: I know the list is long, but – what did you have to do to make this project come to life?

JT: Well I first had to start with the bare bones and I researched dance, nonverbal communication, and different aspects of the dancers respective cultures. I interviewed the dancers, and worked with them almost weekly to gain a better understanding of their dance styles and from there we slowly pieced the project together. Lululemonlab also gave me and my two designer friends, Sze-er Huang and Sarah Fairweather, a six month residency to make custom conceptual costumes, which was honestly as much work as making the dance was. I then shot the loose structure of the dance on medium format film and created a completely handmade, accordion fold artist book to go along with the performance. 

SM: Why did you shoot the project on film instead of digital, like An Embedded Memory?

JT: It was never my intention to shoot An Embedded Memory on digital, I shot film for that project but unfortunately it didn't turn out so I ended up using the backup I shot which was film.
I always prefer shooting film, it presents more of a challenge for me and makes me a better photographer in my opinion. It forces me to get the shot right within a few frames rather than selecting through a few hundred. I also just  appreciate the history, art and skill that film presents. In fact I plan on getting even geekier and getting a large format camera this summer. 

SM: What was the importance for you in summoning material from each dancer's past? 

JT: When I agreed to the project, they presented me with the theme "culture in relation to time and pace". The only way I saw this playing out without bordering on stereotypes was using the real experiences and cultures of the dancers, which luckily for me, was quite diverse. 
After interviewing each of them, there were so many other interesting themes I saw popping up- dealing with death, severe anxiety, cultural displacement, bullying, conflicting sexuality, etcetera. I felt these personal moments were just as important to work through. 

SM: What drives you to cultivate the icy aesthetic present in Visceral Murmurs and An Embedded Memory?

JT: I have never considered these works' aesthetics this way before but I see what you mean. I love how different everyone views the work. 

Well for Visceral Murmurs it started with the costumes. There's a performance term- intersubjectivity- that basically means that the audience is just as much a part of the performance by making their own understandings of what is laid in front of them. With that in mind, I wanted the costumes to be white to really drive home the point of reflectivity on behalf of the audience. 

As far as the colours are concerned, this was me accounting for the "pace" aspect of the performance. I wanted it look like a 24 hr cycle, dawn to dusk. I even made the poor dancers get up and shoot at 4 am with me to achieve this. 

SM: What can visitors expect from Visceral Murmurs?

They can expect a blend between two dimension art, performance art, and dance. There will be two show times–one at 8:40 and 10 and people are encouraged to stay for both as they will each be a bit different. The dancers will also be moving around the room to different areas so in case you miss something, there will be another opportunity to see. Overall it will be a lighthearted celebratory night that just might end in a dance party. 


We don't know about you, but anything that ends in a dance party seems like a great place to be. Don't forget to check Jourdan's show out this Saturday, May 28, at Vivo Media Arts Centre!