Summer Session

Summer Session – Inside the Artist’s Studio, Part 5: Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Today’s essay, written by our new executive director Michele Carlson for our sister publication Art Practical, summarizes Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman’s labor collaborating on Living Condition, a project that “synthesizes hours of interviews, footage, and research” to explore crime, public perception, and capital punishment. This article was originally published on June 26, 2014.

Dee Hibbert-Jones (left) and Nomi Talisman in their studio. Photo: Michele Carlson.

Dee Hibbert-Jones (left) and Nomi Talisman in their studio. Photo: Michele Carlson.

Just off the hustle of 24th Street in San Francisco’s Mission district, multimedia artists and collaborators Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman juggle life. And not just their own. Their studio is in the front room of a large blue Victorian where they live, work, and raise their 5-year-old son. He has tasked them with the grave duty of saving a beloved and recently decapitated Wonder Woman action figure they picked up at a garage sale. Such a mundane domestic scene makes for a sharp contrast with the families profiled in Hibbert-Jones and Talisman’s current project Living Condition, which the pair have been working on at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) as the second annual Community Engagement Artists-in-Residence.

Living Condition both tells and reimages the experiences of those who have, or have had, family members on death row. What began as a series of short animated portraits has flowered into a feature-length film and an interactive component. The latter part is the focus for Hibbert-Jones and Talisman’s YBCA residency. Told in the voices of those impacted by their relative’s experience with capital punishment, and set visually by Hibbert-Jones and Talisman, the stories in Living Condition are heartbreaking and confounding in equal measure. Hibbert-Jones tells of the son of an interviewee “who literally grew up and was stabbed when he was 12, he was shot when he was 14, he was stabbed when he was 16, and then shot again in the head when he was 18. And only the last one was intentional. The rest were accidents.” She continues, “Im sorry but thats not a reality I know anything about. Its so far away from how I hope our son will grow up.”

Read the full article here.