Jonna McKone is an artist, filmmaker, producer/editor and educator using non-fiction, documentary, archives and long-term collaborations to explore personal and collective histories, land and nature and the human spirit. Her work explores the way traces of the past become extensions of the present, sometimes grafted onto places or personal stories in ways that remain unseen, hardly seen, misunderstood or buried. With a sense of place and historical research, her work aims to explore the connection between land and memory, testimony and history, and the material qualities of sound, silence, film and digital media. She is currently developing a book of photography in collaboration with youth who have been in foster care.
She often spends years getting to know people and working in communities. In these long-term collaborations, she gathers archival and living materials and collects stories, aiming to to create photographs and films rooted in the complex interplay of subjectivity, history, the relationship between maker and subject and making what’s unseen visible. Her practice is rooted in process and interrogating her own way of looking to forge understanding.
Jonna earned her MFA in Experimental & Documentary Arts from Duke University and a BA from Bowdoin College. Her recent films have involved burying and soaking film to explore processes of decay and fracture; an observational documentary meditated on economic vestiges of failed industries in a rural town and she more recently completed an essay film that winds between her father’s archives, family memory and slippages in understanding across generations. She also works with oral history and alternative photo processes. Her work has been recognized and recieved support from the Center For Documentary Studies, Skidmore College, Anne E Casey Foundation, Duke University, and others. Her film, photography and audio works have been installed in film festivals museums, galleries and memorials.
Alongside her practice, Jonna has taught courses and workshops for universities and community-based groups around the Eastern US and and Appalachia including Skidmore College, Goucher College, Johns Hopkins University's Youth Film Arts Program, Appalshop, WNYC's Radio Rookies, The Partnership For Appalachian Girls Educaiton, and the Refugee Youth Project. She works as a video producer/editor and radio producer.