Jodie Baltazar is a multi-disciplinary artist whose works encompass music & performance, film, social practice, and sculpture. She is interested in hybrid beings—outliers, monsters, aliens, and outsiders—and what these figures reveal or hide about our perception of natural and social orders. She has consistently explored ontological themes, specifically the role and status of the human being, human-animal-plant-machine relationships, and the consequences of human development, especially in its Western guise, on the rest of the world.
Jodie played in numerous experimental Chicago bands including Fleshy Hollow, Math, Dot Dot Dot, and Duotron through the 1990s. From 1996-2003 as a musician-performer known as Monotrona, she created eight one-woman shows in which she sang, danced, and performed as a series of nearly-human characters or ‘superbeings’ (an alien, a primate, a god, a machine, a monster, a superhero, a giant, and a ghost) in self-designed costumes and sets.
In the 00s she turned to filmmaking and earned an MFA in Film Production from the University Of Southern California with a focus on directing, producing, and screenwriting. Her areas of film/media research included consumption and consumerism, play and games, the monstrous, children’s television, and animation. She has produced and/or shot three narrative feature films, a documentary, and numerous shorts. She has also written and directed several experimental and animated pieces. In 2010, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Poland to investigate notions of scarcity and abundance in communist and post-communist Polish animation.
Upon settling in Poland, Jodie undertook numerous film and eco-social projects which examined “wildness” in the urban environment, social and cultural notions of space and community, natural processes (composting, soil, wild plants), and the use and transformation of public space in the post-post-communist landscape. Jadalnia Warszawa, a collective she co-founded with activist-curator Paulina Jeziorek, explored and mapped Warsaw with the goal of getting to know its wild edible plants and secret, green places. Their book, Głodni zielonej Warszawy (Hungry for Green Warsaw), published in October 2018, was a culmination of these investigations and was awarded a Magellan Prize in May 2019.
In recent years, Jodie has increasingly embraced materiality in her work. She has a growing body of “compostable” sculptural work using natural materials such as wood, glass, metal, cork, cotton, linen, wool, leather, suede, plant resins, beeswax and other non-traditional materials such as kombucha and hair. Since 2019, she has also given a few dance performances and was one of four actors in the avant-garde play “Staff Only”. The play premiered in 2019 was awarded the grand prize at the New Theatre Festival in Rzeszów and an audience award at Kontrapunkt in Szczecin.
She has taught courses in film directing and producing at the international division of the Warsaw Film School since 2017.