IWY 10: CLEANSING FIRES
I’M WITH YOU / CHRISTA HOLKA, R. JUSTIN HUNT & JOHANNA LINSLEY
“I’m With You” began in the back garden of the house we shared in London. Since the first event in 2009, we’ve made IWY events in a variety of spaces, from nightclubs to galleries, but also other domestic spaces (including a small bungalow on an eroding cliffside in Yorkshire). Queer domesticity is the connecting thread for IWY and the spaces we use always reflect this interest. There are two dimensions to this interest that always seem to exist in some sort of tension. Flexibility, collectivity and alternative understandings of the domestic tend to be paired with the provisional, temporary and precarious. This is far from a unique observation, but we try to bring our attention to this dynamic in our work, even as it structures our own day-to-day lives in ways we may not be aware of. IWY is an opportunity for us to work through some of the politics of queer domesticity, but also a way for us to create space for emotional and physical reactions to these politics.
Throughout the IWY project, our house on Mayola Road in London has been a hub for artistic, social and domestic activity for our queer community. In 2012, the owners of the house put it on the market, and in October it was sold. This was not unexpected—none of us thought of the “Mayola Manor” as a permanent living situation, nor would we have wanted it to be. The sale of the house was a disruption, though, and a reminder of the various ways that real estate and economics drive our domestic lives. We wanted to mark this disruption at the level of our own psychic spaces.
We invited a small group to say goodbye to Mayola with a series of rituals. Spiritual forecasts from a bedroom on the third floor. A visualization in the garden under a full moon, and we parted the clouds with the force of our minds. An opera in the door frames (you can listen to the result here: soundcloud.com/imwithyou). In the kitchen, there was a ritual with miniature paper houses, fire and a chant “your heart is your home”—that rattled the foundations. Finally, we took a pile of totem objects and processed through the marshes behind our house to a Victorian waterworks. We burned the objects in a concrete trough—gleefully, viciously, full of an undefined faith.