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Jeanette Andrews - Work Samples for Shandaken Projects Residency

"In Plain Listen"

Music composition, performance, objects, installation.

Commissioned by the University of Houston's Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center. Premiere: March 9, 2023

44 minutes

The secret for one of the first magic effects in written history was translated into a Morse-code-based musical notation system to create this score for solo cello. It is performed in tandem with the original magic effect.

Andrews, created a musical notation key to transform traditional Morse code beep sequences into a musical notation system.

Andrews translated the text that describes the secret of a magic trick – one of the first to have been published in the West – into her Morse code musical notation system and then created a lush score for solo cello. What you will see is a performance which encodes the ancient secret in the form of music in tandem with a performance of the piece of magic that manifests that secret information in visual form. This is set amidst an installation of sheer curtains which includes a redacted version of the original 16th-Century text.

"Taken by Artificial Surprise"

2022 - Performance (20 minutes) & Installation.

This performance and installation series explores the relationships among magic, machine learning, and surprise as it welcomes attendees to step inside a thought experiment – a Turing Test of sorts. Taken by Artificial Surprise utilizes 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? Andrews invites participants to think about whether surprise is a unique, defining factor of human consciousness and how the mechanisms that create surprise lie deep within the gaps of lived and learned personal and cultural experience. 

"Invisible Museums of the Unseen"


GPS-based, user-activated audio art


More images and video:

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Commission

November 7, 2020 – May 15, 2021

(4 sites. English.)

Quebec City Biennial

Quebec City. Canada

February 19-April 22, 2022

(7 sites. English & French. 2022.)

Participants' movements activate the app-based GPS-triggered audio to play, causing 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 parks throughout Chicago, and subsequently Quebec City, 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.


Invisible Museum of Air: Chicago – Washington Park. Quebec City – Les Jardins du Parliament. 
Invisible Museum of Gravity: Chicago – Lincoln Park. Quebec City – Terrasse Dufferin.

Invisible Museum of Reflections: Chicago – Douglass Park. Quebec City – Place d'Youville.

Invisible Museum of Sound Waves: Chicago – Winnemac Park. Quebec City – Passage Olympia, Parc Berthelot, Parvis de l'église de Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

"Impossible Gardens"

Images and video:

A garden is planted via mysterious means as participants use seed paper cards to perform a magic illusion in their own hands without knowing how they accomplish a seemingly impossible feat.


In a guided interaction, the group performs a magic illusion in their own hands, using the seed paper cards (instead of traditional playing cards). At the onset, each person chooses a seed card that is unique to them. Following a set of verbal instructions, the group then shuffles the cards together and makes decisions to eliminate some, tossing them into the air one by one, seed cards fluttering down to the ground. In a final moment of magic, from the remaining cards, each person is able to magically find their originally chosen seed paper card without knowing how they accomplished this incredible feat...! Each person takes their unique, chosen seed paper home as a remembrance of the experience, and also receives a small pot of soil in which to plant these seeds. The participants also plant fallen seed papers in the community plot, and This Impossible Garden can now begin to take root. Participants join together to care for this evolving communal garden, with the amazing nature of seeds as the focus, a beautiful reminder of how seeds connect us. An impossible garden, made possible…

Premiere: MANA Contemporary, 2017

Awards: DCASE Grant 2017

Performances: Neighborspace Community Gardens in underserved areas in Chicago, summer 2017. With support from DCASE.

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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