Field : by Jemima Yong, part of COVID-19 Responses


Photographer and performance maker Jemima Yong makes carefully observed and poetic works. Whilst in lockdown and isolation in London and continuing in the months following, Jemima photographed the view from her bedroom window, witnessing how the same public space was being used, shared and how this changed through the months of 2020. Social distancing, face covering, exercise, team sports and family events feature in an intimate typology of 76 black and white photographs exhibited as a performative work.

by Jemima Yong

Project Statement
“Over the lockdown, I have spent most of my days at the desk by the big window. From here I can see a small green surrounded by multi-story buildings like mine… I begin to notice the range of activities now taking place on the green… As I made more photographs, a visual pattern began to emerge of people alone together, energetic and active because of or – in spite of – their solitude.” – Jemima Yong

Field is a series of 150 black & white portraits of a single public outdoor space during the 2020 Covid 19 lockdown in London. Taken from indoor isolation, the vastness of the green and the dynamism of the people on it is acutely contrasted with the storyteller’s restricted and static point of view. In this time-based iteration of Field, made specially for GRAIN, the photographs are presented in parallel with performed text adapted from a variety of sources including news articles, national timelines and personal reflection. This 19 minute film is an attempt to expose and encounter moments of connection and dissonance between the national, local and personal narratives of this time. Somewhere between poetry and chronicle, Field attempts to capture the atmosphere of a specific historical moment and the heightened performativity of being outdoors.

About the artist
Jemima Yong makes performance and photographs. Collaboration, experimentation and time are central to her processes. Typically she photographs artists and performance; outside of the theatre this way of seeing is turned out onto performativity in everyday life. Her recent work includes Marathon with JAMS (Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award 2018): a performance about fiction, memory and the hysteria of crowds, and ROOM: an improvised storytelling experience that takes place in the imagination of the audience. She is a member of Documentation Action Research Collective, an associate of Forest Fringe and an alumni of The Curious School of Puppetry.

Image Credit: Image detail from Field, 2020 by Jemima Yong

Copyright 2016 GRAIN.