Negative Jam is an artists’ collaboration between Chris Cloud and Lea Devon Sorrentino. These two conceptual multimedia artists were raised by television and are heavily influenced by American Popular culture. Negative Jam works in a variety of mediums, with a heavy focus on emerging media. Important to the practice is challenging the function of art, where it is found, and how it should be perceived.
As two people who witnessed the rise of the internet, while remaining a part of the evolution, Negative Jam’s work is driven by generating a critical conversation about the impact of understanding culture through a digital landscape. Much of the work by Cloud and Sorrentino deals with capturing the American sentimentality. This investigation is examined through the social constructs before and after the internet, while trying to reconcile the two.
Negative Jam also pursues an understanding of how class, race, identity, and gender roles are perceived in modern American culture through the context of the internet. Current society often interacts remotely and social media has made communication an individualistic, curated experience. Cloud and Sorrentino use this new form of communication as a catalyst for performance projects, and other artistic interventions. Ultimately the collaboration formed to understand the changing climate of American culture in a digital age, and to determine if “the struggle” is real.
After months cultivating a friendship over important topics like football rants, the feasibility of consuming ribs during intercourse, the impact of Biggie Smalls vs. 2Pac, and a lust for waterslides both Chris Cloud and Lea Devon Sorrentino formed Negative Jam on a cold Midwest night after a near death experience on February 3rd, 2014.
While journeying to the Wilderness Hotel and Resort at the Wisconsin Dells the two encounter, what is to date, their greatest foe and forever enemy, The Hurricane waterslide. The minute the two wayward sliders embarked down the cavernous tunnels they knew that those screams could be their last. After seconds of flailing legs and white knuckles clenching plastic handles the two plummeted to almost death. When they emerged from the slide, two new people walked out of the foam waves that pooled at the bottom. Those two people are now known as Negative Jam throughout all of the Dells and rest of the world.
Chris Cloud is a digital native who thrives in online cultures and develops ideas at the intersection of culture and technology. He has a passion for innovation, creativity, and all things digital. Chris possesses a talent for inspiring confidence and collaboration into others. He has a knack for observing the cultural marketplace thoroughly enough to think beyond what makes practical sense and create unexpected value by looking at the world from a deeper and different angle. In June 2009, he co-founded MPLS.TV, a Minneapolis based online video network produced by an independent Do-It-Together collective of videomakers and creatives. In March 2010, he was awarded the Leland T. Lynch Award for Creativity. Later that year in Carmichael Lynch’s Creation Lab, he was the Chief Curator of the social initiative, 30 Days of Creativity, where people were encouraged to create stuff, anything, every day for 30 days. In April 2012 at TEDxUMN, Chris gave a TEDtalk on collaboration and the power of Do-It-Together.
Lea Devon Sorrentino
Lea Devon Sorrentino is an installation/mixed media artist who has had the opportunity of exhibiting her work prominently around the Minneapolis/Twin Cities and nationwide. These endeavors, along with thoughtful writing, and a few relational aesthetic performances had her named among the “Artists to Watch for 2013″, by the Walker Art Center. She is a contributing writer for Quodlibetica, an online arts publication, and has been a Visiting Artist for the University of Minnesota. In the past year she has attended several national and international residencies including, Arteles, Vermont Studio Center and Elsewhere Living Museum Residency. Recently her work was featured in the PBS series MNOriginal. Her practice is an auto-ethnographical investigation of life in pursuit of understanding contemporary American culture. Through her work she calls attention to the constructs of American success and the emotional investments placed on possessions and entertainment to create individuality. Or, in not art speak, she’s interested in why we eat too much, spend too much, and cry at reality television.