JAN GILBERT (www.jangilbertart.com) is a native New Orleanian, an interdisciplinary artist, curator and educator. Her works have been shown widely in galleries, museums, cultural centers and often as public art on city streets across the United States and abroad. The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Southern Arts Federation/National Endowment for the Arts, Louisiana Division of the Arts, and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, have awarded her individual artist’s fellowships. Her projects have received support from the NEA/Rockefeller Initiative for Interdisciplinary Artists; Art Matters, Inc.; The Warhol and Ford Foundations; the Trust for Mutual Understanding; and the National Association of Artist’s Organizations. Along with her individual work, Gilbert is a cofounder of the artist/writer collaborative The VESTIGES Project (www.thevestigesproject.org). Beginning in 2006, in recognition of VESTIGES’ 25th anniversary and with Gilbert’s oversight, the collective spent three years working under the auspices of a roving residency with New Orleans’ Contemporary Arts Center, where she more recently served as Interim Visual Arts Director. Throughout her tenure with VESTIGES, she has directed, produced, and participated as a core artist in a wide variety of public art projects that include video, performance and site interactions. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of New Orleans (1980) and her Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Tulane University (1982).
“…a liberating force in a progressing experience … concretely related to our practical doings and under goings.”
There are many personal and interpersonal tools human beings use to create and drive forward personal narratives through transition and toward health. Here is a portal into Masters of Their Conditions*, a cross-disciplinary dialogue between myself, an American visual artist and Dr. Jacques Arpin, a Swiss transcultural psychiatrist/anthropologist, which has expanded to include his wife/Brazilian storyteller Mônica Arpin and my husband/documentary filmmaker Kevin McCaffrey, among others. Together we investigate how to free bodies and minds.
Through the process of multimedia narration, our team explores cultural identity, loss, memory and ritual. The techniques we have developed collaboratively forge new ground in the field of mental health using arts and media. We have collaborated on research, lectures, projects and workshops regarding migration and health, AIDS, cancer (both being survivors) and post-disaster New Orleans and Louisiana.
This web gallery allows viewers to participate in an interactive archive of the work, including drawings, mixed media artwork, text, video, websites, photography and dialogues/presentations. The viewer can probe and experiment with many of the tools and processes the team has used over years of research.
My presentation of the project involves the viewer with a composite film strip containing repetitions of a single image. The viewer may click on a single image of any one line and be transported to a link for a deeper look at that aspect of the toolkit through images and highlighted texts. Some examples of images/insights included are:
a) The art which was the initial point of our contact – two works in my thesis exhibition, an abstract expressionist work Verb and an installation Self Portrait: Closet full of objects of clothing – many permanently petrified with paint.
b) images from our performance/pilgrimage to the birth of dada Cabaret Voltaire
c) images from workshops with arts students and health/arts professionals
d) details of installations dealing with transitions (personal and collective loss and illness).
 David A. Sprintzer, The Drama of Thought: An Inquiry into the Place of Philosophy in Human Experience (University Press of America, Lanham, Maryland), 1978, 144.
 The title of this dialogue stems from the name of a series of publications by Dr. Arpin. See: Jacques Arpin, Transcultural Psychiatry, 2003, 2008, 2014.