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Moa Johansson’s body-based practice flirts with the possibilities within limitations and balances between sculptural work, performance and live art. In the context of intersectional, ecofeminist and queer reading, Moa investigates theories concerning the body, time, space, circularity and fleshy liveness. She translates her research into interdisciplinary arrangements while resisting the work as an end product but something on-going, alive and yet-to-arrive…


Moa Johansson has presented work throughout the UK and internationally, including at Fierce Festival (Birmingham), Karnart (Lisbon), Tempting Failure (Croydon), Humber Street Gallery (Hull) and Summerhall (Edinburgh).

Artist's photo collage

Practicing circular distraction – Moa Johansson


What does it feel like when a ripple of inspiration hits you? 

When inspiration hits, slaps or strokes me gently, it’s like I’ve put on a pair of glasses with the right strength and the blurry tree in the distance (or whatever it may be that my eyes are laid upon) suddenly becomes perfectly distinguishable. It is an epiphany that lasts, sometimes for a brief moment, sometimes a whole day. 


Can you relate to the idea of ripples in your everyday practice? 

I see ripples as a pattern that becomes visible in hindsight. It’s hard to determine the ripples and its vastness when I embody a process. During moments of pause, or in-between, is where the effect becomes distinguishable.


My body-based practice explores possibilities of limitations based on the concept of re; re-work, re-use and re-frame what is already there. I work with natural or found objects, and re-fuse superfluous attitudes and consumption for the sake of art making. I re-sist my work as an end product but something on-going, alive and yet-to-arrive. Therefore, the ripples never really end but are continuous – they just take different shapes and forms. 


I re-sist my work as an end product but something on-going, alive and yet-to-arrive. Therefore, the ripples never really end but are continuous – they just take different shapes and forms. 


What ripples has your work caused and how far-reaching are these?

With my work I create on-going actions as durational temporalities. I’m interested in the layers of time, space, liveness and the (collective) body, and its various frictions and dis/connections. I’m especially interested in durational performance as it shifts the agency around and allows the witnesses to frame their experience of the work as they wish; from what angles the work can be viewed and how long to sit with it. The work becomes with the presence of the bodies that are witnessing it.  


I’m constantly looking to create extended dialogues on how to approach the matter of togetherness in the face of current emotional and ecological breakdown; to dream queer futures rooted in togetherness and interspecies growth. I hope my work prompts conversations on what it is to be a body, to have a body and do with our (collective) body for the best possible right now and a sustain-able future. A body in relation to our surrounding and environment. 


What ripples do you see occurring in the future?

I hope that the ripples of my activations are encouraging someone’s activation. With her writing, Audre Lorde encouraged the individual to be an active-being rather than passive be. Active-being creates ripples; passive be is a sinking stone. Active-being can make a change! I hope to see the result of the pandemic/lockdown/global BLM protests ignite an understanding of the individual’s responsibility to be the active-being for the collective. Right now, we are moving within a global ripple that has the potential of creating a much-needed structural reconstruction. It’s with these ripples I hope we embark on a green revolution. 


Actions cause ripples of all kinds; how do you action care into your work?

With my solo work, as well as in collaboration with others, I think a lot about how to take care of ourselves and how to nourish connections and togetherness; with humans, other beings and entities. In this capitalistic so-called world of ours where artists spend the majority of their time applying for funding and other opportunities, the notion of care is easily lost. I am very conscious of the pressure of producing, producing, producing and the danger of a creative dry-out under such a pressure. What the pandemic has gifted us, me, if something positive can be drawn out of it, is a solid reminder of pausing. Pausing to re/connect. Pausing as caring.