Archive for feminist performance

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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Three Things Not to Miss

Posted in upcoming events with tags , , , on January 4, 2012 by Carol Cheh

CamLab occupies the steps of City Hall, October 2011.
Courtesy of CamLab.

In between spending time with family and friends over the holidays, I had the distinct pleasure of working on #OccupyArt21, a two-week guest stint on the Art21 blog that began this past Monday and continues through next Friday. Ten LA-based artists/writers—ARLA (Elana Mann & Juliana Snapper), Teresa Carmody, myself, Dorit Cypis, Mikal Czech, Robby Herbst, Anna Mayer, Christy Roberts, Mathew Timmons, and Matias Viegener—each contribute a post a day that reflects on and embodies the Occupy movement, which we all support. The works are amazingly brilliant, reflecting the deep well of talent that thrives in Los Angeles. Of all the art projects I’ve worked on to date, I have to say this is the one that I am the most proud of.

I am also excited that CamLab, a performance collective for whom I’ve always had a special fondness, begins its MOCA Engagement Party residency this Thursday night at 7pm, at the Grand Avenue location. CamLab’s work blends visual and social engagement in provocative explorations of language, embodiment, and intimacy. Two more events are scheduled for February 2 and March 1.

Following on the heels of a highly successful public forum addressing the controversy stirred up by Marina Abramović and Yvonne Rainer around the 2011 MOCA Gala, Jennifer Doyle is organizing a three-part Feminist Seminar on Politics and Performance, taking place over three Sundays beginning this Sunday, 1-4pm, at Human Resources in Chinatown. Doyle, along with Dino Dinco and Matias Viegener, did a fantastic job of moderating the forum at LACE, keeping things on track while also providing provocative theoretical overlays to the discussion. The Feminist Seminar will definitely be a Don’t Miss event.