Beauty (feat. Simone Weil)
video, duration 02:23
audio, duration 04:45
Interview: Johnny, Hedva, and the Moon*
*Hedva was unable to answer these questions because she is currently
institutionalized on a different planet.*
In many ways this is a show about dreaming up an anti-capitalist future while trying to deal with the problem of individualism in art that stands in the way of and/or complicates that imaginary. Do either of you think of Johnny and the Moon as having an anti-capitalist message? Does that matter to you?
John, why don’t you want to go to the moon? It sounds like you used to want to go but you changed your mind. What caused that shift?
It’s really revealing about the underlying capitalist values of those involved in the art industry to examine what is seen as “serious art” and what is “fun” but not worth deep consideration. Thinking about the sick utopia you describe at the end of Sick Woman Theory, in which everyone has dropped out of the workforce and is giving care or being cared for by others (making work obsolete), I can’t help but wonder: is this project an outgrowth of that fantasy? Like, is this a way of realizing a more leisurely (as opposed to laborious) art practice?
Perhaps this is the same question phrased in a different way. Did you make any of these tracks in bed? John? Hedva?
I’m really interested in the sort of condescension towards grandeur or romanticism that’s expressed in these tracks (“beauty's so fucking dumb the fuck” / “I don’t even want to go to the moon, fuck it”) while they simultaneously evoke an immersive and imaginative environment. Do you see any tension between those two things? Isn’t it actually a totally romantic gesture to sweepingly condemn romanticism?
Finally, still on that note, what role do you think the imaginary can play in a substantial political project? Does art matter in that regard or is it like beauty: so fucking dumb the fuck?
Johanna Hedva is a fourth-generation Los Angelena on her mother’s side and, on her father’s side, the granddaughter of a woman who escaped from North Korea. She is disabled, neurodivergent, queer, and gender-nonbinary. She lives in Berlin and makes a living as an astrologer and tarot reader, and by doing political advocacy with an arts nonprofit. Hedva is the writer/director of The Greek Cycle, a series of feministed and queered Ancient Greek plays that were performed in Los Angeles from 2012-2015, in venues that included a Honda Odyssey (for her adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey) being driven down the freeway for two audience members at a time. She has published several books and a novel, The Crow and the Queen, in handmade limited editions. Her collection of poems, an encyclopedia, and a play, Minerva the Miscarriage of the Brain, is forthcoming in 2017 in a Spanish/English bilingual edition, published by Queen Ludd. Since the age of 15, she’s made music under various aliases, the most current of which is John Conch. She’s currently at work on This Earth, Our Hospital, a political manifesto that converges with autohagiography, and her second novel, The Twin.