JESS SHANE

Audio Producer + Community Artist


IMA-MFA Portfolio


 

Ambient Sir

Medium: Audio documentary || Runtime: 9:33mins

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Synopsis: After studying interrogation transcripts from Guantánamo Bay detention camp, Jordan Scott, a poet who stutters, grew interested in how detainees' stutters were systematically interpreted as signs of their dishonesty.

Scott applied to tour the prison to interview interrogators about this, but at the last minute was informed that his interviews wouldn't be possible.

With Guantánamo's strict censorship policies in mind, Scott changed tactics. He asked to record ambient sound at the prison instead. Gitmo officials, though puzzled, obliged.

This piece considers how institutional silence can be documented and represented, and the possibility of listening in spaces of trauma. It features Scott's field recordings from both his prison media tour and a night visit he took to Camp X-Ray - now the site of an active war crimes investigation. Commissioned by Falling Tree Productions for BBC’s podcast Short Cuts.


 

Seeing her again like this

Medium: Video || Runtime: 4:45 (of 27mins) || Full video available here

Synopsis: A man donates a roll of film to me. It features photography from the last vacation he took with his ex-wife before their divorce. Three versions of the events depicted in the photos are told concurrently: first, through the images themselves; second, through a recorded interview with the man about the vacation and his relationship; and finally, through re-enactments of these events by actors.

The actors play the man as he has described himself, and his ex-wife, in the various possible versions of her character evoked by the man’s descriptions.

The video raises questions about the ethics of recounting a shared past, the performativity of memory, and the responsibilities of the listener.

This piece was created as the culminating thesis project of my undergraduate degree. The poor sound quality reflects my limited technical knowledge at the time of making the piece. From the rest of my portfolio, you will see that location sound recording is something I’ve since learned about.


 

Dear Dream

Medium: Audio documentary || Runtime: 2:55 (of 16:41mins) || Full doc available here

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Synopsis: We follow a teenage athlete in the year following her premature retirement from a promising Olympic-bound gymnastics career due to injury. Attempting to reconcile her dreams of becoming a top athlete with her new physical reality, and unsure of who she is after losing a key component of her sense of identity, she works towards finding closure from this intense chapter in her life.

In this extract, the gymnast and her mom discuss her plan to return to the gym for the first time since quitting, not having said goodbye to any of her teammates or coaches since then due to guilt and shame. Commissioned by CBC’s The Doc Project and aired on WBEZ’s Re:Sound. It was featured in Audible Feast’s weekly write-up here.


 

Perfect Woman

Medium: Audio documentary || Run time: 2:38 (of 12:40mins) || Full doc available here

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Synopsis: A young woman becomes obsessed with reading her boyfriend's diary and starts changing herself based on what she reads to maintain his affection. This piece is a personal narrative based on events from my own life. In this extract, the narrator describes the first time she read the diary. Commissioned by CBC’s podcast Love Me.


 

Internal Hard Drive

Medium: Audio documentary || Run time: 3:18 (of 60mins) || Full doc available here

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Synopsis: This doc explores the evolution of memorization from a staple to a relic, and why some people continue to make memorization a part of their lives. Tracing the route of memorization from a cultural necessity and bedrock of the education system, to its conception today as redundant in a digital world, Internal Hard Drive considers stories of people who refuse to let memorization go, and the question of what is lost when we stop committing things to memory.

In this extract of the hour-long documentary, I discuss what memorization of ancient songs means to a family of Georgian singers. Produced for CBC’s Ideas.


 

Community Arts + Puppetry

If you are interested, view some of my community-engaged art here or here, and more specifically, in puppetry, here.