by Jaguar Mary
photo Bryan Phillips
I’m coping with being alive, as a human being in this moment and time by finding an odd pleasure in the thought that no one knows for sure what is going on. There’s a transparency occurring because the virus is really fracturing information. Any idea of truth is built subjectively. And we’re scaffolding our truths, trying to hold them together. I think that’s the strain on our psyches right now. We’re assembling what we believe may be happening, how the virus moves, how it attaches and so on, amidst the awareness that there are gaps and discrepancies. It’s a head-trip for us, but it also means that in the process of structuring belief, we may see how we are constantly organizing our psyches everyday to respond and find ways to thrive in this or any environment. I mourn friends and family who have transitioned to the other side while simultaneously watching and finding gratitude for the mystery, the unknown, life/death paradox that this global event is illuminating. Frankly, I have more hope for us as a species than ever before. My art practice is about amplifying that hope for myself and others, performing as a DJ on Radio Kingston (radiokingston.org) five days a week. Going deep, talking about life, death and love to the background of amazing tunes. I continue to think of my life as a blessing until it ends and this body is no more.
Jaguar Mary is a performance artist, glossolalia vocalist, filmmaker and hoop dancer. Her specific concerns, and the directives that have driven her art practice, engage black feminist discourse, questions of history, and recently, ritual performance and practice in art. Jaguar Mary aka Jocelyn Taylor has shown and performed internationally, at the Johannesburg and Havana Biennials, the New Museum, Museum of Modern Art, KARST Gallery in the UK and Dietch Projects in New York. In 1989, she co-founded the historic Clit Club with Julie Tolentino. Jaguar Mary has also collaborated with feminist artists Annie Sprinkle, Yvonne Rainer and Cheryl Dunye and others. Her essay, “Testimony of a Naked Woman” about being a black feminist sex-worker was included in Afrekete: An anthology of Black Lesbian Writing edited by Catherine McKinley and Joyce Delaney. Under the name Jocelyn Taylor, she was commissioned to make work for the Public Art Fund and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. She’s also received grants from the Jerome Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts.