The Moonville Project began in 2015. As a collaborative work of art, the project is interdisciplinary, rooted in social and place-based practices, and intended to provide a space and backdrop for the work of other queer artists and makers. The work will culminate in the creating of a queer community based around the parafiction of Moonville Ohio.
Moonville seems the perfect name for a queer community. Essentially asking, how far must we travel to be safe, experience equal rights, to exist? The backdrop of Moonville replaces a history which has been taken away. The queer founders of Moonville are the elders who were taken from us, their stories erased or never written.
This project is interested in the dead and in what has been taken from the living. I have little interest in ancestry. Instead, I use my own family’s American myth as a point of departure, as a place to disrupt history and narrative.
Moonville no longer exists, but it’s a part of my family folklore. Samuel Coe, my Great Great Great Grandfather, mined coal in Moonville. In an effort to allow for any efficient transport of coal and clay, he convinced the owner of a fledgling railroad to route the train tracks through his own remote property by gifting a portion of the land to the railroad, thus creating a self sufficient refuge for outsiders.
The territory is now part of the Vinton County Parks District. The Moonville tunnel still stands, but the railroad tracks have been pulled up to create a wide dirt path. The Moonville cemetery can be found along this path, occupied by a handful of Coe family ghosts.
A first road trip was March 2019.
A second road trip is planned for March 2020.