2023 Grad Show

Jessica Tonn

AUArts Grad Show IMG_6996



I manipulate perceived reality. With photography, animation, watercolour, and soundscape, I combine mystery with technology to summon eerie, ephemeral encounters between the viewer and my imagined world. My work explores melancholia stasis by combining shadow with ritual. This unspoken agreement creates a conversation of doubt, as if they have stumbled across something peculiar that they were not supposed to see, rewarding those who peer closer.

Uncover the strange shadows you see out of the corner of your eye, the fairies that play tricks on you, and the creatures you swear you see right before you blink.


This animated photograph is my grad piece. I created it in my second last semester, and its unsettling and alluring presence encapsulates my practice.

Melancholia Wraiths

Melancholia is my base emotion. It is stasis. An inescapable being. Limbo fueled by self-reviling and cessation of interest in the outside world. It is a ritual of exchanging sanity so one can keep living. A purgatory. Sigmund Freud it described as, “being caught in an exorable and inescapable relation to the lost object, the ego of the melancholic is in a constant state of damage and disintegration.”

When you experience melancholia, you yourself become a spectre. A spectator of your own life. A wraith. Disconnected from anything that matters. All your senses are numbed except the ones swirling incoherently in unrecognizable language in your own mind.

Past the Threshold

Engaging multiple senses at the same time is essential to create an all-encompassing experience, not just a moment on the wall.

Our minds produce reality and thoughts that only we perceive in our unique and individual eyes. Since make belief memories are stored in the same part of the brain as real ones, it makes them just as real.

I explore how making artwork the threshold can summon an otherworldly reality into this one. I combine mystery with technology to create eerie, ephemeral encounters using interactivity and engaging multiple senses at once.

Rifts Into The Otherworld

My work is a celebration of the unknown. Parafiction. The things we wish were real, and what might be real. What could be real even for a moment. The unseen. Phenomena. Sonder. The incomprehensible wonder of the world and the possibility of others beyond the veil. The viewer is invited to partake in the evocation on their own terms.
Artifice versus reality. Doubt. My work creates an uncanny unease by revealing ephemeral materials that change as they are observed.

This site may contain artworks with provocative content that some viewers may find uncomfortable or upsetting. AUArts supports a culture of non-censorship and ongoing conversations about contemporary art.