Jillayne Hunter and kb Thomason are a duo, like the duo of all duos. They are a duo of unseen proportions, you can’t even dream this stuff up, not like they do. Well, maybe you have dreamt them if you’ve broken that third-dimensional wall. If you’ve even been in an altered state or dabbled in ceremonies of magical of colossal proportions, remnants of their ruminants suspend there. They are in the in between of the art world, betwixt all living things.
Like a set of twins, a set of eyes, a set of breasts or thighs; emerging as The House of ia, the duo mirrors itself into oblivion and a future where art is something altogether strange, unusual, yet fetally familiar. Hunter and Thomason set the stage for other duos to follow. It’s as though they’ve come from the same pod yet are not of the same planet. Or are they? One wonders from which planet or plane their ideas emerge after browsing then obsessing over their videos. It’s obvious that pods and planets matter none when it relates to transitioning art into another form.
Hunter and Thomason are filling themselves up with seed to birth a new planet, to birth a new them; even to become the seed, they tickle the sapling. They cycle and recycle our predecessor’s work to offer us their blessings via their amebic-like body of work; all about the progenitor, they are apparitions of the past calling us to look at how all time and space collide. The House of ia challenges us to reconsider our very existence from birth to perception and even death. Notions of stardust and galaxy travel are interspersed in word and image as they relate to our human experience on planet Earth.
In like men in the folds of a fallen tent, i & ii the poetics wax a moon into the roundest thing out there. In The Colonization of Mars- 15 Moons (4) it’s the return to a self we’ve long forgotten because our gaze has been more navel than galaxy-bound. In A Site Too Wonderful For Me blatant witchy spells are cast all over the place.
Exploring the body through film, Hunter and Thomason arrive at births, un-births, and re-births. They encounter unseen experiences of the artistic endeavors. They don’t just push boundaries, they push each other and the public’s eye; they force vision upon the viewer and in that they become both the shaman and the medicine.
The ´Humans Project´defies what we think about art: or at least that’s the objective. Part of the Witches of Bushwick residency, Hunter and Thomason use space to explore textures and bodies. They shrink down notions in religious, political, social, and sexuality spheres only to blow them up again. Hunter and Thomason are as tricky as any witch; it’s no wonder to watch them is to watch a spell unfold right before your very eyes. And as the spectator, all you can do is believe in what you see and feel because there is nothing more. You are left with no other choice. The grotesqueness left as a taste and memory –both beloved.
In Vernae, an 3.5 hour art installation, they require the viewers dedication as does most of their work. Dedication to watch, to study, to view, un-view, and digest. It’s a process, not just an art project.
Hunter and Thomason dance a dance their own as seen in the experimental corporeal study of Matryoshka Research. It is the imposing of self upon self that one can see how layered we are, and how layered the dimensions in which we live are, too. The video explores the removal of masks, organic states, and contortion.
Questioning this flesh and this rat race, questioning the lines that trace back to an ancestor you may or may not have yet met. The House of ia returns us to the spaces we don’t remember or haven’t been to yet. They give us freedom to visit places we aren’t sure exist, but ones that we create. It is the study of biology as seen through the eyes of magic –they dissolve our notions and fortify new rituals.
The House of ia is its own breed, a breed not yet named or identified, but one hundred percent embodied by Hunter and Thomason. They embody ethereal elements and esoteric energies, they are bubbling with an art that might not be associated with anything you’ve ever experienced before, but once you see it, you crave more. In the flesh, The House of ia is a creature to be feared and to be stroked. Won’t you come behold the horrific glory?
WORDS BY: Jacklyn Janeksela