Art Unbound Award 2021 — Experimenta

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Winner: JSMR

Created and Performed by: Jessica Stanley (Spinning Plates Co)

Award presented by Experimenta for Melbourne Fringe Festival 2021

Experimenta Judge’s Feedback:

Jessica’s performance drew us immediately to the screen and into her softly spoken world of AMSR. A beautifully intimate experience that critiqued our captivation with Youtube creators, harnessed the potential of the platform and successfully played with the audience sitting alone watching at home. Fantastic script and look forward to seeing what she does next! 

The Work:

A digital storytelling experience, the work was originally intended as a live theatre event for the Fringe Festival, however the online pivot due to lockdowns allowed audiences to experience the sensation of ASMR (a.k.a. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) via headphones from the comfort of their homes. The online show was a calming, sensory exploration of pleasing triggers (and not-so-pleasing triggers for the host) as Jessica mixed ASMR with personal stories of how she came to discover, love…and need it. 

Jessica says,  “Going digital meant that I could play with the medium in so many more ways, and that I could ensure good sound quality. The binaural sound is a really important element of the show and vital to experiencing ASMR. Being able to get up close and personal with the camera meant I was able to ensure viewers would have an intimate experience, where it felt like I was talking directly to them and only to them. That’s what I wanted the show to be.”

The Artist:

Jessica Stanley is an actor, writer, voice over artist, podcast host and marriage celebrant from Naarm/Melbourne, and Co-Founder of Spinning Plates Co – a collective interested in presenting work that continually develop, expand and challenge their craft, whilst always paying homage to technique and heart. She is also the Chair of theatre collective North of Eight.

Recipient of the Victorian Premier’s Award for Drama (2008), the Howard Fine Online Performance Project’s Best Actor Award (2021) and the Art Unbound Award (2021), Jessica is a graduate of the Full Time Program at the Howard Fine Acting Studio, which she attended while concurrently completing her Bachelor of Social Sciences at Swinburne University. She received a scholarship to study at Monash University where she completed her Bachelor of Performing Arts. As a writer, Jessica has had her plays performed at La Mama (It’s Alright, Sid it’s Alright, 2013), and was invited to attend the Valdez Theatre Conference in Alaska to workshop her play Sisters, Inferno (2018). She works as a freelance copywriter under the name Speak in Jess, and as a marriage celebrant under the name Stan by Me Ceremonies.

A lover of intimacy in all its forms, Jess hopes to continue training with Ita O’Brien to become an intimacy coordinator in the future. She hopes that her work and practice will always make other artists feel seen and held in a safe space.

Experimenta awards the ‘Art Unbound Award’ to Melbourne Fringe artists who are experimenting with presentation models, challenging audience expectation and innovating with technology. Click here to read more.