Moonville, Ohio  Moonville, Ohio

This project is interested in the dead, but only for the sake of the living.

Moonville no longer exists, but it’s a part of my family folklore. Samuel Coe, my Great Great Great Grand Father, mined coal in Moonville. In an e
ffort to allow for any efficient transport of coal and other goods, he convinced the owner of a fledgling railroad to route the enterprise into the small community. Thus creating a refuge for outsiders where commerce was still possible.

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 family ghosts.

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.

In response to the 2017 presidential election, and continued threats against the rights of queer folk, I ask myself: where might queer people need to go, to survive, to pursue happiness, to create?

Moonville informs my understanding of separatism and provides me with a jumping o
ff point to dream of, and eventually build a space that furthers the work, rights, and concerns of queer people.

Traveling to former Moonville, I’ll make a railroad handcar using parts sourced directly from the Kalamazoo Manufacturing Company in Santa Clarita, California. This handcar’s explicit use will be for transport within future Moonville.

If I am to make Moonville a reality, I must first create an image of what this place can be. Myself and a crew of queer artists will converge on the Moonville Tunnel to video and document the group riding the handcar through the Moonville Tunnel. We will ride along where the former tracks ran. (I am modifying the wheels to go ‘o
ff the rails’).

This travel, is the first step in a larger, lifelong project, to raise funds to build a large, inclusive artists residency that prioritizes the concerns of the queer community.

In life, on film, or still image, I have only seen men on handcars. Simply by occupying this space, we begin to create something di
fferent. The handcar is forward movement. The handcar was always intended to fix what has failed.

*If you are interested in collaborating on Moonville.  Please contact me.  A road trip is planned for March 2019.
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