John Q's portfolio
The Jolly Twelve
Description: Artist Freddie Styles tells the story of the Jolly Twelve, a gay male, African American social club who met regularly in the Old Fourth Ward and walked to parties in uniform and in step, performing their presence to onlookers from neighborhood porches. There were memorable catcall exchanges. John Q restaged this memory to kick off Memory Flash (2010), a series of public installations that re-constructed queer memories across Atlanta.
The Joy Lounge
Description: In the 1960s, Billy Jones (aka, Phyllis Killer) emceed a drag show at the Joy Lounge during a time when an Atlanta city ordinance made cross-dressing illegal. When the police would pass through, the performers would huddle into a walk-in beer cooler and await the sign that the coast was clear. As a way of creating new memories, attendees were asked to crowd into a mobile cooling unit where they could witness a digital copy of original footage of the performers at the club, now an empty lot on Ponce de Leon Avenue. This installation took place down the road and just months after the APD's raid on the Atlanta Eagle and was the second movement in the Memory Flash series of public interventions.
Tomboys Vs the Ladies
Description: For the third movement of Memory Flash, a women's softball game in Piedmont Park acted as the backdrop to a multi-vocal recitation of a script developed from oral histories about the softball leagues as places where lesbians could negotiate social networks. The two most popular teams were the Tomboys and the Lorelei Ladies.
Description: John Q's march through Atlanta during the 2010 Memory Flash series of interventions that restaged queer memories through the city.
Description: The final movement of Memory Flash (2010), the collective addressed a censored screening of Andy Warhol's film, Lonesome Cowboys. In 1969, the screening at the Ansley Mall Mini-Cinema was interrupted, the film confiscated, and attendees photographed, as authorities looked for suspected homosexuals. Referencing this instance of censorship, the final reel was projected in the direction of the original location of the cinema where the image fell on trees and the side of a building, thus completing the interrupted screening.
Discursive Documents: The Jolly Twelve
archival digital prints, sound, boots
Description: Discursive Documents in the project space and Education/Resource Center at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (2010-2011) attempted to address documentation in a manner that kept the movement of images and information both public and fluid. This installation shot pictures documentation of The Jolly Twelve, the first movement in the Memory Flash series of public interventions. The images were documents of the original event, while the boots stood for the twelve walkers, spaces open for occupation through memory and varying contexts. In addition, a sound piece by Andy Ditzler is a binaural recording of the event which prevents the retelling in a circular, auditory fashion, mimicking the experience of walking the block in Old Fourth Ward.
Discursive Docuements: The Joy Lounge
single channel video project, archive box, projection material
Description: During the Discursive Documents exhibit at MOCA GA, the film projection box used in the walk in cooler during Memory Flash was set up among the museum's archive boxes to reference its movement in and out of official repositories for the purposes of public circulation.
Description: John Q happening staged at Outwrite Bookstore during the Atlanta launch of a specially curated issue of The JOSH (Journal of Sexual Homos, Arts and Sciences PROJECTS, NY).
Mr. Potatohead dolls, plastic parts, modeling clay, paint, glitter, play table, chairs
Description: Mondo Potato was part of the grassroots MondoHomo festival in 2010. John Q constructed a table for gender as play in which Mr. Potatohead dolls could be dressed to conform to gender assignments or embrace the playfully absurd. Identity construction was limited only by one's imagination.
The Campaign for Atlanta: An Essay on Queer Migration
Description: The Campaign for Atlanta: An Essay on Queer Migration was a multi-media performance in the space of the Atlanta Cyclorama, a 42' x 358' painting of the Civil War's Battle of Atlanta. This project contrasted modes of military visuality with fragments of queer memory to pressure notions of how we might do the work of remembering place and the past.
The Campaign for Atlanta: An Essay on Queer Migration
Description: During the second turn around the Cyclorama, John Q delivered an alternative script about migrations into the city.
Take Me With You
two-channel video installation with artifact
Description: In Take Me With You, John Q returns to the Super 8mm films of Crawford Barton screened in the collectiveís 2013 performative essay, The Campaign for Atlanta. Well-known for photo-documenting queer life in San Franciscoís Castro district through the 1970s and Ď80s, Barton is also a native of Resaca, a rural town in northwest Georgia. The films include a record of an early-70s road trip with a friend, presumably from rural Georgia to San Francisco, in an era of gay liberation. Driving from Atlanta to Bartonís hometown, we reversed the first leg of Bartonís migration and his film of it, in a sense passing each other on Interstate-75. Footage from both cars (1970s and 2013) is intercut alongside other imagery from Bartonís films. The title refers to our desire to explore the potential of the past, as well as the pastís wishes for the future.
A vitrine in the center of the installation displays a parallel re-enactment: John Qís redesign of an undated flier found in the Crawford Barton papers at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society. This quotidian and seemingly trivial object becomes an important evidentiary document, in part since it evokes the sexual ethos of a pre-AIDS gay male culture in San Francisco, but also because it is one of the few traces left of social networks that operated underneath the historical radar, a communication as fleeting and ephemeral, perhaps, as the ride itself. The flier reads: ďTake Me With You. Iím looking for a ride. I cannot afford gas expenses, however, Iím young, good-looking and always horny. 863-7136.Ē This piece is part of our ongoing interdisciplinary work on the problems and possibilities of queer migrations.