Colette Copeland: My Jesse James Adventure at Old Jail Art Center
Colette Copeland's fascination with Jesse James stems from childhood family lore and tales of her blood kinship to the notorious outlaw Jesse James which manifested into an art project. Copeland's ongoing project, My Jesse James Adventure, goes beyond the personal connections through heritage. It examines fake news, gun violence, criminal celebrity, the fascination with DNA networks, and fact vs. fiction. Over the years, the project has taken the artist to sites across the US where Jesse James lived and outlawed, filming and leaving her DNA in the form of a lock of hair at each site. The performative journey/quest thus far has spanned nine states and over 4,000 miles. Each new discovered site provides another topic or concept that the artists mines and layers into each new installation.
The OJAC's Cell Series iteration of her project will include a 22-channel video installation; photographs of DNA hair offerings at each site; a spaghetti western inspired musical score composed by Dallin B. Peacock; as well as an audio guide narration featuring acclaimed Dallas actor Ike Duncan reading original newspaper articles about the outlaw's exploits. The immersive installation prompts conversations about our "cultural" heritage, posing questions rather than seeking to resolve them.
The image was shot by SPE member Dr. Diane Durant