about jt bullitt
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JT Bullitt
PO Box 37 • Milbridge ME 04658 • USA
jt@jtbullitt.com

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I consider my work to be an ongoing series of "experiments" that explore the invisible, inaudible, and intangible forces that underlie human experience. I am particularly fascinated by questions of time & memory, language & symbol, and conscious & unconscious choice. I work primarily in sound and in mark-making (ink on paper, using pen or brush).

Earth sound

The Earth is an ideal metaphor for the unconscious: we live our lives in contact with its surface, seldom aware of the powerful tectonic forces deep below that drive entire continents and give shape to the planet's familiar surface features. Using methods learned from an early career in geophysics, I record the Earth's deep vibrations, convert them into audible sound, and create multi-channel sound installations in which it becomes possible to — quite literally — listen to planet Earth. The intent of this process is to bring into consciousness the Earth's hidden subterranean energies: the rumblings of earthquakes half a world away, the buffeting of the ocean floor from storms far out at sea, even the twice-daily tidal pulls of Moon and Sun. In creating this listening experience I hope to provoke in the listener a series of potentially transformative questions: Why can't I ordinarily hear these deep sounds? How does the significance of my own life choices and actions compare to the enormously powerful geologic forces operating within the Earth? What is my relationship to geologic time? If I am normally oblivious to the Earth's own natural powers, with what else am I likewise out of touch? Are there similar hidden forces operating within me? Will the Earth remember me? Why am I here?

mark-making

Every action we perform leaves its mark in the world. Putting pen to paper is thus an ideal metaphor for living. In doing so, over time, points become lines, lines become forms, and forms become symbols imbued with meaning. This hierarchical accumulation of small gestures adds up to a densely concentrated language of action and choice that can be rich with significance and emotional truth. A simple line drawn across the page records many forces, known and unknown: the artist's conscious intentions, the tiny accidental movements caused by twitching muscles or a wandering mind, and — perhaps most compelling of all — the universal unconscious energies that lurk deep within us all. I draw on iconic and symbolic vocabularies from other fields of human inquiry (including science, mathematics, alchemy, politics, and spirituality) to create new ones, as a way of expressing our complex relationship to symbol and language. The marks I leave upon the page also present a challenge: not to mistake the marks themselves for what one thinks they may represent; for in doing so one risks missing the deeper truths and beauty that lie just beneath the surface of things. There is always more than meets the eye.