INTUITIVE PERFORMER

Jones’ mesmerizing solo performances began before his partnership with Zane and have continued throughout his career. Initially his speaking was purely improvised, and often confrontational, bursting into singing, in what he called 'spontaneous poetry'. Later solos became more structured: descriptive, analytical, reflective, lyrical, still unpredictable. Jones’ solos are often set at the start of performances, introducing themes carried on by the ensemble.

Aware of the spectators’ gaze, Jones uses his charisma and non-linear storytelling as a way to remain in charge over his own narrative. At the same time, he seems to engage in virtual conversations with his contemporary community of artists, such as Richard Bull in his strategy of constructing dances, in Floating the Tongue (1978), with Keith Haring while drawing on the wall in Long Distance (1982), in addition to the audience. 

In The Breathing Show (1999), Jones manages to set a conversation between his corporeal self, by breathing, dancing to classical music, and talking to the audience, and the incorporeal self in Ghostcatching. The co-existence of both on stage reinforces the power of each. Ghostcatching, Jones’ collaboration with artists Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eskar (later revisited in After Ghostcatching, 2010) remains one of the most arresting explorations of dance and digital art. 

The recording of Jones’ dancing, through 'motion capture', brings with uncanny accuracy Jones’ angles of the limbs, the hand gestures, the sudden jumps, the isolated movements of the head and the fluidity of the spine. The digital processing creates its own synthetic universe that, unlike other visual arts that focus on the representation of a subject, a synthetic entity seems to come from a much deeper place, bringing to the fore the artist’s experience and history. With the disappearance of Jones’ corporeal identity, a powerful daunting one returns, with his recognizable voice singing. Jones materializes as a presence, not as an image.