Jek McAllister’s practice is either very easy or difficult to articulate. A recent work – the famous and highly ‘grammable “orange experience” (aka “It’s Too Orange to Tell You”) is a conceptually convenient example: a bit of very bright orange fabric installed on a structure so that you can put your head in and see how orange it is. A straightforward premise, but in the same way that I can’t tell you just how orange it was, it’s hard to explain why it was probably the best thing going at DJCAD’s 2019 degree show.
Her work generally hinges on an accessible/ubiquitous/lo-fi aesthetic, utilizing incidental and banal artefacts (found objects, found gestures, found language) as a starting point from which to enact variously playful and minimal responses. Her object-taste is in the ilk of lists, receipts, Tesco bags and office stationery, while her language-taste usually lies between a verb and a noun.
Jek’s interest in stationery is nicely offset by her penchant for action. “Come see what I put on this notepad in the work staffroom utilizing the work pens,” was the very snappy tagline in the promo for her Wooosh, and post-pasting we saw that “JUMP” was what she had put. Bouncing somewhere between an inert drawing and an -ert instruction, the page acted as a conductor for the rest of the evening: Jek followed on with a mediumly dangerous jump-based performance, and mobilized our attendees to partake in some synchronized (but more tepid) jump-actions. I was filming at the time of Jek’s JUMP, then deleted it because I had started too soon, ending up with no footage at all and having not paid attention to the jumping the whole time due to the matter of the filming – which is a shame, but also somehow on brand: Jek’s past performances have been decidedly trivial, to the point of wondering if anything had happened at all.
Once infamously criticised as being a ‘slacker’, all good woooshers should be able to identify that Jek is in fact a sneaky-firebrand facilitator – here at Wooosh, DAIN HINGS and Powerpoint Presentation Club to name just a few – repeatedly prompting us towards the thrills of the mundane. Follow her @jekmcallister for more (or less)