Antoni Hervàs: What is that called? Pussies on wheels

LACA Los Angeles Contemporary Archive

Antoni Hervàs draws from his personal experience to turn everyday life into extraordinary narratives through an expanded concept of illustrating. Hervàs places his body in the center of the action as a collection of memories, techniques and modus operandi. Drawing helps him build a mapping experience from a nonlinear temporal structure, made up of fragments which cut, paste, color and overlap by taking advantage of the transformative power of drawing and the filter of memory.

During his stay on 18th Street Arts Center, Antoni has conducted research, whose focus we could place within the following three areas:

  • Chuck Arnett (1928-1988), dancer, motorcyclist, draftsman, muralist.
    A central figure of what was known as the leather subculture of San Francisco, linchpin of breaking stereotypes related to masculinity and also the precursor to sophisticated codes and new sexual practices (back-rooms, slings, fist-fucking, sadomasochism…). The story of Arnett has been compiled by Rogert Praguer and is now preserved by ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, where Antoni has carried out much of his research.
  • The Roller Derby Girls, A sport whose regulatory framework is defined by the Girls themselves, where punk ideals are combined with Riot Girrls, DIY, sport, solidarity among women and the fight against various types of objectification constantly present in everyday life and in athletics. Hervàs establishes direct contact with the group by following their matches and training sessions.
  • Voguing, dance battles, for which Hervàs’ past as a gymnast and his current passion for urban dancing have allowed him to access a culture that has to be explained through participation.

Through these three areas of research, he analyzes the manner in which certain practices challenge the body, along with the stereotypes associated with masculinity and femininity, linked to topics such as: hyper-sexualization, the customization of clothing and self-representation, the relationship with DIY, freedom, physical strength, femininity and alternative masculinities and inclusiveness; beyond the binary definitions of gender.

The issue of interdependence, power, cooperation and painful pleasure are also cross-cutting themes in all of these practices. Judges, referees and opponents in voguing and roller derby; the penetrator and the penetrated in fist-fucking.

Through this talk of a performative nature at LACA, Antoni shares his experience in Los Angeles, in which the difficulties of translation, not only linguistic, but also those related to cultural parameters, have added a new filter of fantasy to his fascination with popular culture.

Event supported by 18th Street Arts Center