Strange New Worlds about Art, Theater and Bees – WWD

Strange New Worlds about Art, Theater and Bees - WWD

In her early twenties, Jess Bush was pretty sure she wanted to pursue a career in the arts – but something called “tall poppy syndrome” stopped her.

“It’s a form of humility,” she explains of the Australian term. “If someone gets too big for their boots or too confident, people around you will think you need to calm down. That sort of thing.”

Chatting on Zoom from her temporary home in Toronto, the Brisbane native seems very humble. Fortunately, she reasoned with her own fear of tall poppy syndrome and embraced the arts, both in theater and the visual arts. Bush is now taking his big break from acting in “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” the new Paramount+ series, as well as with “Bee Totem,” his immersive art installation.

“In my early twenties, my community started filling up with more actors, and I finally decided to give it a shot. I was just like, ‘shit, I can feel this in me and I can feel my gut telling me to go for it,'” she recalled. “And the rest is history. I was pretty focused on the laser after that.

Bush was first approached about the Star Trek project amid the pandemic, at a time when she was fully dedicated to the visual arts.

“My visual art is still alive alongside my acting career; they go really well together and at the time I was working on a major art project that was funded by the Australian government, and I was right in the middle of installing this big installation piece. And I had just had a conversation with my managers in Australia where I was like, ‘I just need to focus on this other thing for a while, and I need to rest,’ she said. “I had also been quite beaten down by a long series of rejections. My sanity was really taking a hit, and I said, “I only want to be on projects that really speak to us and really feel like, we love.” And he was like, ‘Great. Completely understand. Take the time you need. I will be in touch with all that is special.

The next thing she knew was that he was back with an audition notice for a mystery character with a fake name in a fake scene for a “Star Trek” project.

“I ran home after a 14-hour day of settling in, hair on end and completely unprepared, and threw something on the floor,” she says. “And that obviously resonated.”

Playing nurse Christine Chapel forced her into the “Star Trek” universe, which she was “aware of” before but “had no idea of ​​the immense cultural impact of this franchise. As soon as I ‘ve booked, all these Trekkies started coming out of the woods,” she says. “All these people I know turned out to be massive Trekkies.”

“Bee Totem,” meanwhile, is something she’s been working on for about three years now. Bush collects dead bees from beekeepers and stores them in resin spheres, “to make them look like little glass orbs, and then I hang them from the ceiling in different formations,” she explains. “And I’m asking a sound artist to create music around that as well.” The construction took him four months alone.

Her visual work has long been inspired by the environment and she discovered the beauty of a dead bee while walking in the park one day.

“I just think they are the most beautiful insects. I feel like when you take the time to engage with them, you almost feel like they’re from another place,” she says. “They have such a special energy about them. And obviously I think it has something to do with them holding our entire global ecosystem together. And obviously, we would understand that at the animal level. So here is. There’s just something about them that obsesses me. And I could happily work with them forever. And obviously the issues that they face and the issues that they… I feel like they kind of became a poster to show where we are in our relationship with the natural world. And the issues they face kind of reflect many other issues that we face.

As she looks ahead, Bush once again relies on her approach to wait for something that really excites her.

“I think it’s important to be somewhat selective about what happens next, in terms of what role comes next. I think it’s important to be aware of that,” she says. “But at the same time, I’m just a lot more excited. I think while that request in 2020 resulted in something wonderful, it also came from feeling tired and maybe less hopeful. And my life is completely different now, and so I’m really excited about what’s to come.

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