Elyse Johnson (1992) is a queer, mixed American artist working in video and performance. Raised in Memphis, Tennessee and currently based in Chicago, her practice investigates power, spectacle, and imperialism as they apply to the contemporary human condition and our shifting relationship to the natural world. Johnson graduated from the Art Academy of Cincinnati (2015) where she was awarded the Stephen H. Wilder Traveling Scholarship, a grant awarded to two graduating seniors each year. With this award, Johnson traveled to Nova Scotia, Canada, where she completed her performance series The Silver Screen in the Bay of Fundy, a location renowned for having the highest vertical tides in the world. Johnson has exhibited in the US and Berlin and is featured in EMERGENCY INDEX: An Annual Document of Performance Practice, Volume 8. (2019) and Volume 9. (2020). Johnson maintains a curatorial practice that centers liveness and shifting perceptions of identity, culturally and individually. She completed her MFA in Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design in Spring 2019.
Johnson's practice investigates human progress and the consequences of rapid advancement, both real and imagined. Her performance work uses post-human character design and centers characters who are afflicted, effected, and burdened by our increasingly precarious relationship to technology. Her practice is fueled by a spirit of irreconcilability and the allure of spaces in which conflicting ideas, meanings, and realities coexist and inform each other. As the veil thins between real and other, we might embark on a journey of collective hallucination; a never-ending crescendo towards the epic.