Ann Reynolds

Joan Jonas, They Come to Us Without a Word II, 2015. Performance view, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, Venice, July 21, 2015. Music by Jason Moran. Joan Jonas. Photo: Moira Ricci.

SILENCE IS NOT A TERM one readily associates with Joan Jonas’s work. Think of the jarring sound track of Vertical Roll, 1972—probably Jonas’s best-known single-channel video—characterized by the metallic clang of a spoon relentlessly banging on a mirror, then the sharp clack of two wooden blocks repeatedly hitting each other, the latter device echoed in Delay Delay, 1972, and Songdelay, 1973. Or the intensifying clatter of a large metal hoop as it rotates faster and faster down to its resting place on the ground in The Shape, The Scent, The Feel of Things, 2005/2006. Or Jonas shrieking like a maenad in Lines in the Sand, 2002/2005, and howling like a dog in Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy, 1972, and Waltz, 2003. Or the sustained, piercing blast of a mountain horn that the artist blows in Reanimation, 2010/2012—all examples of the artist’s consistent use of dramatic

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