Archive for alternative spaces

Q&A with Johanna Hedva: She Work, a collaboration with Nickels Sunshine

Posted in interviews, upcoming events with tags , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2015 by Carol Cheh
She Work. Photo: Mattia Casalegno.

She Work. Photo: Mattia Casalegno.

Since 2012, artist and writer Johanna Hedva (formerly Johanna Kozma) has been writing and directing a series of plays that she now refers to as The Greek Cycle. The plays are adaptations of ancient Greek texts that, in the author’s words, “have been rewritten to respond to feminist and queer political discourse, and relocated into contemporary contexts.” Each play has been developed in close collaboration with their performers, and each has taken place in an unusual location–Odyssey Odyssey, for example, was an adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey that took place inside of a moving Honda Odyssey.

On July 11, Hedva will open She Work, the fourth and final play in The Greek Cycle. An adaptation of Euripides’ Medea, She Work was developed with body-based artist Nickels Sunshine (formerly Nick Duran). It will be performed at d e e p s l e e e p, a private apartment that doubles as an art space. In advance of this concluding work, I conducted the following email interview with Hedva. To preserve the nuances of Hedva’s voice, the text is largely unedited from its original form.

Carol Cheh: Where does your acute interest in Greek plays come from? Why does adapting them for queer and feminist discourse appeal to you?

Johanna Hedva: my short answer to “why the greeks?” has always been “because they need it.” my longer answer is that i have a deep and complicated love/hate relationship with these stories, and couldn’t think of anything better to do in terms of storytelling. whenever i thought about adapting and directing a story, i kept falling into the greeks — probably because these are “original” stories in terms of their influence in western culture, and can be traced in many of the narratives circulating today in all kinds of art, and also because of their mythic-ness, their expanse and specificity. they are as big as cathedrals, oceans. also, i’ve had a tragic life, and find that i’m drawn to tragedy as a comfort (not a lesson). i like myths in and of themselves, and as cultural functions, as seen on a spectrum alongside or counterpoint to intimacy (my other fave), and i like a good story, so to that end, there’s really nothing better than the wildness of an ancient greek myth.

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Queering Sex showcases Sphinx, Jack Smith, and much more at Human Resources

Posted in noteworthy, upcoming events, video footage with tags , , , , , on June 27, 2011 by Carol Cheh

Sphinx performs at Human Resources, accompanied by imagery from Jack Smith's Normal Love

If you’re not spending time at Human Resources these days, you’re really missing out. Since reincarnating themselves at their new space on Cottage Home in Chinatown, their programming has become noticeably more ambitious, dynamic, and diverse. I’ve been seeing an imaginative cross-section of experimental/underground music, good performance art by people I’ve never heard of, cool dance acts, screenings of important film and video works (like Chris Kraus’ entire, rarely seen oeuvre, shown a few weeks ago with Kraus and Sylvère Lotringer in attendance), and interesting guest curators, like Kathryn Garcia and Sarvia Jasso, who had the infamous Brooklyn Is Burning on their resumes before moving on to Queering Sex. Perhaps the improved feng shui of their new digs has helped to take HR to the next level; that huge, single, open gallery on the ground floor of an old kung fu theater is a spectacular space that never gets old.

Last night, the third night of Queering Sex, was a fun time that started with a screening of Jack Smith’s pioneering film Normal Love; moved through a selection of video work by Martha Wilson, Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Lars Laumann, Bruce La Bruce, and Gordon Flores; and finished off with a stunning set from the goth-fetish-metal band Sphinx. Below is a bit of crappy video footage that I took; hopefully better versions will appear on the webs soon.

Even though they’re a ragtag little collective that doesn’t have either nonprofit or gallery status, Human Resources’ savvy programming choices are making them an important force in the LA art scene. Be sure to Facebook them or join their mailing list. The final Queering Sex event will be a performance by Dawn Kasper on July 2. HR also has a project with Outfest lined up for mid-July and plans to bring in performance artists from all over the world later in the year.