Johnny and Bella – What If

Johnny and Bella (first published March 6, 2016) is my blog text at What if? Your participatory arts community on identity. What if? is part of TransCoding–From ‚Highbrow Art‘ to Participatory Culture, an arts-based research project conceived of by the artist and researcher Prof. Dr. Barbara Lüneburg (project leader), funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF (PEEK AR 259-G21) and located at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz/Austria. The project was run by an international team of artists (e.g. composer Clio Montrey as social media strategist) and researchers from February 1, 2.2014 to January 30, 2017.

#GYHAFY – Give yourself a holiday away from yourself

#GYHAFY is part of ‚What if?‘. I’ve been invited by Barbara to be a part of it. Weeks ago before the invite I saw this picture on tagg magazine’s site about historical lesbian couples. To me this picture of these amazing persons is something magical. But the life of this couple is completely unknown. A wonderful occasion on giving an identity! Barbara asked some questions. The idea behind: be another (invented) person. The following story is a mix of invention, history, and my personal experiences. I gave them a name: Johnny and Bella. A very special couple. The beginning of a new story.

And this is what Barbara did with my invented story below:

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Johnny and Bella

Your chosen gender: Poet.

Century of birth: 1890.

Country of birth: England.

Best friend(s): Other women working in/for the subculture. Sssh! Can’t tell the names.

(Unusual pet): Some harvestmen in the kitchen – sometimes I want a big terrarium with leaf-cutter ants or garden snails.

What did your parents want you to become? A silent, adjusted wife.

What are you really doing now? Fucking around.

What is your day job? Poetry.

What is your night job? Poetry.

Where do you live?
In a shack doing poetry writing under a male name earning lots of money, having a nice flat with my girlfriend(s) … in London (where I can go out in men‘s clothes without being recognized).

Where would you rather live?
Maybe in Paris near my sisters, the women of the left bank.

Johnny and Bella © sshreeves, Flickr. Image originally published on Tagg Magazine and cross-posted here with their permission.
Johnny and Bella © sshreeves, Flickr. Image originally published on Tagg Magazine and cross-posted here with their permission.

What is the weirdest story of your life?
Once with my family I‘ve been invited to a dinner at bishop’s place. It was so boring there: all these „important“ men. So I strayed around and saw this enchanting housemaid doing the bishop’s bedroom. And she saw me and we both were flashed. So we did it quickly in the bishop’s bed … but we weren’t quickly enough … a janitor came in and the party was over. The maid lost her job, I lost my family … but: I don’t give a damn about it. The maid – Bella – now is mine!

Let me know what annoys you.
Let’s talk about fashion. The girls are so beautiful in their dresses but they have to wear these horrible corsets. I’m offended with the reports about fire accidents and dead young women: smoking is not decorous for young women (I don’t care about!) so they smoke secretly. The problem: the petticoats often are soaked with glycerin for more volume. Some women suddenly had to hide the cigarette behind or under the dress…

Tell me what you love about life/this special day/last week…
To love is to live. To love is to stand with your life. Have you ever read „Orlando“? It’s a manifestation of love. And I believe in reincarnations, too! Maybe there will be another young woman in the future who is like me … maybe writing an article about … or giving an interview … what if?

Best encounter ever: Everytime I „recognise“ other women as nuts like me.

Favourite text/statement/book/…
„I worshipped dead men for their strength, forgetting I was strong.” – Vita Sackville-West

Your chosen name is: Johnny.

Here’s the link again to the original blog on What if?

Image © sshreeves, Flickr. Image originally published on Tagg Magazine and cross-posted here with their permission.