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In the Evening There is Feeling: Reading Johanna Hedva

22 April 2020

In the Evening There is Feeling: Reading Johanna Hedva

Thu 7 May 2020
18:00 - 19:30 BST

Led by DCA's Head of Exhibitions Eoin Dara, ​In the Evening There is Feeling​ focuses in an informal and welcoming way on feminist and queer texts from the world of art and literature. Over the past few weeks, we have been looking back at some key writers we have studied in our recent programme, and would like to revisit some of these thinkers in the present uncertain moment. The texts we have selected for these online conversations in the coming weeks generously think through concepts of love, care, kinship and the imagination — vital ideas we all need to be focusing on in the unprecedented times we find ourselves in.

Following on from our bell hooks session in April, our second online meeting on Thu 7 May will centre on some writing by Johanna Hedva: a brilliant artist we had the pleasure of working with last summer as part of Patrick Staff’s project ​The Prince of Homburg​.

The main focus of the conversation will be on the essay ​Sick Woman Theory​. In this work, Johanna describes their own chronic, confounding illness and the impersonality of the Western medical industry, and suggests that the greatest enemy to capitalism is taking care of yourself and of others. In thinking around the possibilities of direct political action, ​Sick Woman Theory poses the question, "How do you throw a brick through the window of a bank if you can't get out of bed?" This work developed from the lecture, ​My Body Is a Prison of Pain so I Want to Leave It Like a Mystic But I Also Love It & Want It to Matter Politically​, delivered at Human Resources and sponsored by the Women’s Center for Creative Work in Los Angeles, on October 7, 2015.

We will also be considering a much more recent piece of writing by Johanna, written just a few weeks ago in the context of COVID-19, where they consider the revolutionary potential of the current crisis, and what happens when care insists on itself.

This work can be accessed ​here​ and forms part of a collaborative project by Sam Lavigne and Tega Brain detailing comments posted on gofundme.com's medical fundraisers' database. These messages express care, well wishes, sympathy and generosity in the face of personal adversity and systemic failure. This is an archive of mutual aid in response to a ruthless for-profit health system. It is an archive that should not exist.

To join the conversation, simply email ​eoin.dara@dca.org.uk​ before 16:00 on Thu 7 May. He will then send you a soft copy of ​Sick Woman Theory​ and details of the Zoom meeting. There will also be a link to download an audio recording of Eoin reading ​Sick Woman Theory ​for those of you who may find it easier or more enjoyable to listen. We look forward to seeing you soon.


If you enjoy this activity and you're able to, we'd be so grateful if you'd consider donating to help us keep enriching people's lives through art, culture and creativity. Thank you! 

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