Jordan Matthew Yerman has developed his photography and electronic art practices as storytelling tools. As he travels for work and adventure, he documents cities through the lived experiences of their inhabitants, be they human or otherwise. He imposes interventions upon his images to explore how those inhabitants—and those who view them—embody the changes in their built environments.
Yerman’s work has been entered three times into the proceedings and catalogue of the International Symposium on Electronic Art(ISEA), and he has been published by the Vancouver Observer, APEX Experience Magazine, Wallpaper*, Travel+Leisure, Akihabara News, Tokyo INSIGHT Magazine, The Vancouver Sun, Vancity Buzz, Vancouver Courier, Gripped, Spaced.ca, Manager Magazine, Love Meow, and Canadian Avalanche Journal; as well as being featured on Buzzfeed. He takes high-stakes cat photos for Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue, helping stray cats find new homes. He has presented on street cat portraiture at BIL 2015 and 2016 in Vancouver; as well as on using artificially-intelligent language translators to create drama in 2017.
The Street Cat Project consists of photographs taken during journeys through Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Tashirojima, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Vancouver, Surrey, New York City, Reykjavik, Hong Kong, Guatemala, and Colombia from 2011 to the present. There are distinctive connections between features and behavior of street cats and their local cityscapes—these feral cats embody the social, economic and cultural forces that prevail in the areas where they live.
Two single-phrase stories accompany each cat—one in English, and one in the cat’s native language: Japanese, Hebrew, or Icelandic. The bilingual stories obliquely complement each other, enhancing the picture of the cat so that its full presence can be experienced.
Sky Series examines memory and the marking of the passage of time on a moving planet that feels still. Through these we can imaging dramas large and small playing out, and even windows to imagined alien worlds.
Street Cat Photo Booth is an extension of the Street Cat Project, consisting of networked shelter environments scaled for feline use. Distributed in urban centers around the world, these autonomous photo booths will empower street cats to raise funds for their own care and feeding, even as the images they create entertain the anthropocentric internet. A collaboration with artist and computer scientist Dr. Leigh M. Smith, this project was successfully tested in Brooklyn in October 2015. The project has since been demonstrated in Vancouver, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Manizales as an exploration of nonhuman agency in art-making and storytelling.
Sakura Study: 花吹雪 explores the intrinsic link between the beauty of a cherry blossom and its ephemeral nature. A week after the city blooms, we are left with only memories of how it looked and how it made us feel.
Misunderstood: Duologue with a Broken Machine is an electronic artwork exploring the relationship between two imperfect entities: an algorithmic translator and a human reader. The embodied performance, a battle of attrition eliding between echo, question, and challenge, evokes that of playing with a ouija board—easy answers are sought from thin air, but instead the user must seek meaning and structure through seemingly-arbitrary external cues.
The Cat’s Adventure (猫の大事) is a story of discovery and love in the world’s biggest city. It’s for anyone who has ever felt very small or very lost.
As he travels for work and adventure, Jordan studies the people and things that make a city function. Japanese Taxis is a project that grew from that practice.
Jordan Matthew Yerman’s photographs are archival pigment prints, available in three sizes. Each photograph is editioned, dated, and signed by the artist. Based in Vancouver, he is also available for commissions.
For further enquiries or to contact the artist, please click the link at the bottom of the page.