Interview: Moa Johansson on Performance & Microsoft Paint
We caught up with performance artist extraordinaire Moa Johansson to talk about her upcoming event at Paper Dress Vintage on Tuesday 3 July 2018.
tonight is the night baby and forever (but no recycling) | Paper Dress Vintage | Tuesday 3 July 2018 | 8-10pm | Free
Tell us about your performance and exhibition coming up at Paper Dress Vintage. What should your audience expect?
In tonight is the night baby and forever (but no recycling) is a 90 minute body based piece where I create exaggerated images of obsession and explore excessive emotions around unnecessary items. For instance: I put on various pairs of shoes, slide and wiggle into, perhaps, a pair of heels, and as I do so I fake an orgasm. Or, I laugh hysterically whilst throwing clothes around. Hysterical laughter is then transformed to a real life frenetic scream as I give birth to pair of Dr Martens. It’s a paradox you see; I am the consumer and the consumed, I am greed and superficiality, and the slippage between real things (objects) and real feelings (pleasure). It’s a never-ending story kind of thing; my desire can never be sustained and is forever unfulfilled.
Why do you choose to work in Microsoft Paint?
It all began when I rediscovered Microsoft Paint on one of the work computers at my extra job. This was during a shift when I had received documentations of my live performance from the previous night. Born out of boredom, I begun to manipulate the images of myself in Microsoft Paint, amused by the limited possibilities offered in one of the very earliest editing programmes.
After great responses from my colleagues I continued to make one print for each shift. Only accessible at the computers at this job, the more I played around with Paint whilst working, the more I realised the politics of what I was doing; making visual art out of my documented live art at a job that takes hours away from me, yet the labour is essential in order to be able to continue making my art. From thereon the ‘A Rediscovery of Microsoft Paint’ series became an act of resistance.
A friend later picked up on this idea of labour for labour and suggested that these prints should be sold for the hours I work at this extra job. Each prints will be valued based on the shifts I do taking into account my hourly rate, meaning that for each sold print I will be bought off, or free of, a shift.
Who or what inspires you to make your work?
I am most likely to find inspiration in still images or reading I do around certain subjects. With tonight is the night baby and forever (but no recycling) it started off as an action. Taught by Lois Weaver at the time, I was given the task to come up with a mundane task (putting on shoes) and exquisite word (orgasm) which became about shoe fetish intertwined nicely with the topics of consumerism and materialistic (un)satisfaction. At the same time I come across the work of the fashion photographer Guy Bourdin, whose aesthetic has function as a great inspiration for me. Another forever inspiration of mine is LaRibot and her work on repetition and presentation rather than representation.
What’s your message for London?
The Peace Lilly filters out five toxins from the air and is an adaptable and low-maintenance plat.
What are your favourite London haunts? (To eat, to party, to see art/performance & to relax)
On a hot summer day I’d be at the Hampstead Heath Ladies’ Bathing Pond and later somewhere high up, i.e. a roof top for a view over the city. I would then head to VFD for performances and a guaranteed fun night out.