Joellyn Rock is an Associate Professor of Art and Design at University of Minnesota Duluth. Her creative work includes digital print, interactive narrative, and experimental multimedia in a range of hybrid text/image/video projects. Interested in how emerging media is reshaping the ways that stories can be told, Rock helped establish the Motion and Media Across Disciplines Lab at UMD. Collaborating with writers, coders, dancers, actors, and other visual artists, Rock contributes to experiments with networked improvised literature or Netprov.
This portfolio of creative work shares solo and collaborative projects including: digital art, digital narrative, interactive installation, video, and netprov works. The portfolio also shares narrative ceramics and illustration from earlier bodies of work, with echoes evident in the digital work that follows.
Artist background: As a visual narrator, my medium of choice has shifted over the years, but I’m always telling stories with images. These stories have taken form as illustrations for print media, mixed-media gallery installations, and collaborative performance projects. Others have been made of clay, narratives disguised as the decoration on ceramic vessels. I studied comparative literature and visual art as an undergraduate (University of Wisconsin in Madison and Evergreen State College in Olympia WA, BA in Expressive Arts, 1982). I made the crossover to digital media in graduate school (MFA in Design, 2001). Most recently, I’ve been drawn back to working with my hands, rebooting old skills (ceramics) and grappling with new skills (crochet). A new work in progress, Frau Holle’s Werkhaus, is an attempt to combine mixed-media fiber arts with A.I. and layered video projections.
Revisiting fairy tales and myth, I seek new ways to tell old tales. The Vasalisa Project and The Mysteries are complex examples, spread across various media formats, from drawing and print to interactive web fiction and mockumentary video. Hybridity (a mixing of artistic techniques and media) and distribution (the extension of the work across media platforms to reach various audiences) are key components in this creative work. Using a combinatory creative process, I work by remixing images to create large scale inkjet prints, building multi-layered digital mosaics, as in the gallery installation Godwottery:The Garden Reworked.
Multimedia collaborations, such as the Sophronia Project (Northern Spark, Walker Art Center, 2014) and Fishnetstockings (Lydgalleriet, Bergen Norway, 2015), are time-based installation works, providing participatory space and multiple modes for the audience to play in the story. Experimenting with chromakey video and silhouette projections, the color-saturated mashups use both hand-drawn and appropriated imagery, still and moving pictures.
Working collaboratively, I also join electronic literature innovators engaged in developing the new form, netprov (networked improv narrative). Netprovs integrate live performance and game-like improvised story-building. I Work for the Web, Tournament of la Poéstry, and Grace Wit & Charm, hijack online media to create crowd-sourced fictional worlds. I’m a featured player on many recent netprov projects, providing text and visual content to support the narrative. Ultimately, I am happiest when working in new territory, bushwhacking my way with strange tools and make-shift methods, but always in search of the visual story.