The video performance Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy (1972) is the first performance in which Jonas uses video alongside her many props and devices. The performance includes a projector, live camera, and monitor, which are connected by a closed-circuit system, as well as two pre-recorded videos, Jonas’s Duet (1972) and Richard Serra’s Anxious Automation (1971), both of which include performances by Jonas and are shown on a monitor. As part of the performance, a cameraperson records live-feed video that relays the live action of four female performers: Suzanne Harris, Kate Parker, Linda Patton, and Jonas to a video monitor and video projection. The audience sees the live performance simultaneously with details of the performance projected and on the monitor, recorded by the live camera. A second, smaller video monitor on the floor of the performance space and not visible to the audience allows Jonas and the other performers to see the details and framing of this live footage and adjust their movements in relation to the camera.
The performance opens with a large mirror (previously used by the artist in her performance Choreomania  as part of a prop designed by Richard Serra) being wheeled out in front of the audience, facing outwards. The audience members thus see themselves reflected in the mirror and see the performers, as they are captured by the camera and projected via a live feed onto the screen. The performers, in turn, can also see themselves on the large projection. In this way, the audience can experience firsthand the discrepancy between what they see from their vantage point and what the camera sees. Jonas was one of the first artists to address the relationship of dual reflectivity between mirrors and live video projection. She was also one of the first in the late 1960s to investigate the potential time-based and spatial relationships between performance and live video feedback. These explorations are at the core of Jonas’s performative works, which opened up new considerations regarding multiple points of view.
Jonas’s first presentation of the Organic Honey material was at 112 Greene Street, where she recorded her first autonomous video work, Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy (1972). She then rearranged the material to develop the performance Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy at LoGiudice Gallery, bringing together all of the elements in front of an audience for the first time. As in the rest of the Organic Honey works, Jonas assumes the role of her masked alter ego and performs a range of idiosyncratic activities that explore video as a medium, as well as female archetypes.
Clausen, Barbara. “Performing the Archive and Exhibiting the Ephemeral.” In A History of Performance Documentation, edited by Gabriella Giannachi and Johan Westerman, 93–114. London: Routledge, 2017.
DeJong, Constance. “‘A Work by Joan Jonas’. Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy.” Directing Issue, The Drama Review: TDR 16, no. 2 (June 1972): 63–65. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1144714
Iles, Chrissie. “Reflective Spaces: Film and Video in the Work of Joan Jonas.” In Joan Jonas: Performance Video Installation 1968–2000, ed. Johann-Karl Schmidt, 154–64. Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2001.
Jonas, Joan. “Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy [Introduction and Script].” In In the Shadow a Shadow: The Work of Joan Jonas, edited by Joan Simon and Joan Jonas, 145–51. New York: Gregory R. Miller & Co., 2015.
For further reading, see Organic Honey Bibliography.
- Jonas, Joan. “Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy 1972 [Script].” In Joan Jonas : Scripts and Descriptions 1968–1982, edited by Douglas Crimp, 44–52. Berkeley: University Art Museum, University of California; Eindhoven: Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, 1983.
Performance Chronology and Documentation
- LoGiudice Gallery, New York, February 12–13 and 19–20, 1972. Performers: Suzanne Harris, Joan Jonas, Kate Parker, Linda Patton. (Performance Documentation)
- Festival di musica e danza, Rome, sponsored by Galleria l’Attico/Fabio Sargentini, June 1972. Performers: Joan Jonas, Linda Patton. (Performance Documentation)
- Joan Jonas on Organic Honey, October 2018
- Joan Jonas on Organic Honey Performances and Videos, December 2020
- Interview with Barbara Clausen (independent curator and professor of art history at UQAM, Montreal), August 2020
- Interview with Constance DeJong (artist, writer, performer, and professor of art and time-based media at Hunter College, New York), December 2019
- Interview with Simone Forti (American-Italian artist, choreographer, dancer, and writer), December 2020
- Interview with Babette Mangolte (French-American experimental filmmaker and photographer based in New York), September 2020
- Interview with Carol Mersereau (New York-based artist and photographer), September 2020
- Interview with Roberta Neiman (New-York based photographer), October 2020
- Interview with Joan Simon (independent curator and writer based in Paris), January 2021
- Interview with Gwenn Thomas (New York-based artist), June 2019
- Interview with Gillian Young (Assistant Professor of Art History at Wofford College, South-Carolina), September 2020
The following are examples of data visualizations based on SPARQL queries to visualize research on Organic Honey performances. The Joan Jonas Knowledge Base has designed a linked open data model to capture research on Joan Jonas’s work, using Wikidata to render our dataset accessible to the community.
“Dimensions” data visualization example