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Jeanette Andrews - Work Samples for Pioneer Works Residency

"Taken by Artificial Surprise"

2022, work-in-progress. Performance (20 minutes) & Installation.

This performance and installation series explores the relationships between magic, machine learning and surprise.
It welcomes viewers to step inside a thought experiment – a live Turing Test of sorts. The performance aspect of this work highlights historic pieces of magic presented alongside magic developed with the help of AI, and might throw attendees into uncertainty as to which may be which.    
In 1950, pioneering mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing wrote the seminal paper, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence." He drew inspiration from Victorian-era parlor games to imagine his own parlor-style amusement, the imitation game. This inspired the now-famous Turing Test and utilized the question "can a machine take us by surprise?"  as a way to investigate artificial / computational intelligence. Taken by Artificial Surprise explores historic parlor magic to examine hierarchies of surprise and the human creation of surprise as compared and contrasted to that of machines. What might performances of the seemingly impossible demonstrate about the capabilities and limitations of both machine learning and the human mind? What constitutes the experience of surprise itself and is surprise is a unique, defining factor of human consciousness?

"Invisible Museums of the Unseen"


GPS-based, user-activated audio art

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Commission

November 7, 2020 – May 15, 2021


Sites, Chicago, IL:

  • Invisible Museum of Sound waves in Winnemac Park

  • Invisible Museum of Gravity in Lincoln Park

  • Invisible Museum of Air in Washington Park

  • Invisible Museum of Reflections in Douglass Park

GPS-activated, self-directed interactive public audio art piece. Participants' movements activate the app-based GPS-triggered audio to play, which causes an invisible museum to come to life before them. This work takes the form of a fictitious audio museum guide for unseen architecture dedicated to invisible forces. Occurring in four parks throughout Chicago, participants discover two realms of the invisible: the architecture of an imaginary museum and the contents of the museum’s unseen “galleries,” each dedicated to a scientific and perceptual component of invisibility. This public audio art experience commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago for its exhibition "The Long Dream." 

"Bottling the Impossible"

Sculptures and Performance Series

High Concept Laboratories, Chicago

June 6-15, 2019

Sculptures: As Andrews unveils her 'impossible perfume bottle' sculptures, they evoke images of a ship in a bottle, on magical steroids. Bottles contain totally solid objects such as a chess pieces and pocket mirrors, that are far larger than the neck of the bottle. Both the bottle, and the items inside, have not been cut, tampered with, or 3-D printed in anyway. The items inside are totally solid, and everything is exactly as it appears. The bottles function as a modern day magic wand.

For more on these, please read the Chicago Magazine feature article HERE

Performances: What if a scent could create magic...? Aromas trapped in impossible perfume bottle sculptures cause the seemingly impossible to unfold in viewers' hands. This is an interactive, contemporary magic performance, with a contemplative edge where participants explore perception, time, and chance and the biological triggering of wonder. Subverting the traditional role of the magician, members of the audience are able to seemingly read Jeanette's mind, perform card tricks on themselves without knowing how, predict future decisions of other audience members and cause a water to transform into any perfume that their heart desires....

Please bear in mind that as a medium, magic does not translate to the moving image. 

Can only be experienced correctly live.

Invisible Roses

A site-specific work for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s 50th Anniversary

Commission - 2017

Responding to Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s fabric wrapping of the MCA’s building in 1969, this site-specific work commissioned for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th anniversary explored concepts of certainty and being hidden in plain sight. Handed a map to the performance, museum patrons unfold the paper, noting it is blank other than a simple instruction to “locate roses.” They begin a sort of scavenger hunt in the museum, with fresh sod underfoot welcoming them to a display of a thousand roses .... Upon bushing the rose petals across the blank map, previously invisible ink appears, displaying a true map to the performance. During the performance, the audience engages in a series of illusions, magic, experiments. The scent of wet dirt imbues audience members with the ability to discern the color of a playing card simply by feeling it. Each viewer causes printed images to vanish and reappear. At the conclusion of the work, Andrews slowly unfurls a large pile of cloth, which was seen to be concealing a single rose in a vase. She snaps the head off of the rose and crushes the petals in her fingers. The 30 foot length of cloth is then given to two women in the audience who cut it in half, tie the pieces together, and then it is instantly and magically restored in their hands. It is then seen that the head of the rose has surprisingly grown back in mere minutes. 

Your performance was full-blown and memorable.

- Lynne Warren

  Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago 

Jeanette's graceful sleight of hand is equal parts mystifying and alarming. How something so slippery and illusory can happen within arms reach of your watchful eye is truly remarkable.

- Jason Pickleman

  Owner/Curator, Lawrence & Clark Gallery, Chicago

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