Coe, 2018: moonville
How to read this transcript: An overall description is provided to give a sense of the style and aesthetic of the comic for those who are unable to view the images. The transcript is then broken down by page, presenting text interspersed with bracketed image descriptions.
Overall description: This comic is adapted not from a video recording of the participant but from a project proposal by the artist Coe Lapossy, who kindly gave permission for it to be adapted for the Existence Stories project in this form. The comic combines text from the proposal and a combination of hand-drawn images and xerox transfers of photographs. It is primarily in black and white.
The day after the 2016 Presidential election I flew to Austin, Texas to visit a friend and artistic collaborator. Several layovers left me with hours to spend in Houston and New York. I sat with other folks from all around the world, [row of three hand-drawn, minimalist TV monitors showing a map of the United States in red] transfixed by the television monitors which surrounded us.
[xerox transfer of people standing in an airport, staring up in the direction of the hand-drawn TV monitors]
Some people were unmoved, but many were concerned, worried, and afraid. Many of us were looking for recognition in strangers that this was not acceptable.
As I touched down in Austin, the threats against minority groups immediately began circulating - we found that every public space we entered was imbued with the potential for violence.
[xerox transfer of overlapping post-election headlines. They are only partially transferred, so none can be read completely, but they all describe discriminatory acts and sentiments. Snippets visible include: "'Heil Trump' painted(...)" "'Make American White Again,' softball dugout(...)" "Black doll hung from(...)" "'Deportation'(...)" "'Go home' scrawled on car(...)" "(...)Reportedly Attacked(...)"]
[hand-drawn image of a hand holding a smart phone, set in a black rectangle] We received phone calls from colleagues across the states, distraught friends and family, unsure of what was next.
If human rights were not protected, would our friends need to abandon their lives, their homes, and their jobs to ensure their personal safety?
Where could queer people go to survive, to pursue happiness, to create?
We began planning for how to respond to this violence, and how to protect ourselves and the people we love.
I remembered Moonville, Ohio, the forgotten ghost town of my ancestors.
Myself and my friends began discussing plans to buy back Moonville and turn it into a queer feminist compound, a refuge, a safe space for ideas to grow.
This dream kept me focused and reminded me of the deep history of people who survived persecution, hardship, and bigotry by creating something.
I will create my own custom handcar. This handcar's explicit use will be for transport to and from Moonville along where the former tracks ran.
[xerox transfer of a photograph of two people operating a handcart]
In life, on file, or in still image, I have never seen anyone but men on handcars.
Simply by occupying this space, we will trespass and allow for the creating of something new and different.
The handcar is movement, two by two, or individually, into an unknown space.
Moonville is too narrow a path confined by dense trees to enter by modern car. The handcar is quiet, requires no fuel, but needs tracks, laid out by history, along which to follow.
It was always intended to fix things.
Moonville is a space where queer makers and thinkers can go to continue their work. Farmers, writers, artist, philosophers, cooks, metalsmiths, woodworkers, performers, scientists, doctors, architects, and builders of... [xerox transfer of a stone bridge] BRIDGES
Humans have explored the depths of the ocean, the moon, but we have never been to Moonville.
(adapted from a project proposal by Coe Lapossy)