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 foundational histories have been taken from the living. 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. In this parafiction, this deal is brokered through sexual favors between two gay men. Samual Coe has the vision to create a secret separatist community for outsiders, claiming that a supernatural force was guiding him toward a place where gender, sexuality, and race will not incumber an individuals freedom.
The Moonville tunnel is constructed as a beacon for those who would know that there was no where else for them. By word of mouth and secret networks the residents of Moonville grew to nearly one hundred. Many of which had escaped asylum or unbearable circumstances. The Moonville cemetery can be found along this path, occupied by a handful of Coe family ghosts.
Road trip to Moonville March 2019.
Road trip to Moonville Fall 2021.