1 Becoming IHOOQ
2 Video: IHOOQ plants seeds
ihooq works haphazardly, spontaneously - site-specific, place-based and plant-based actions. i participated in a workshop recently where i was led into a state that mimics earth, earth is a typo but i want to leave it in, because it is not wrong. But the actual state was that of death, and of becoming. i was led to imagine a new form, a new being, or persona - and i became a burst of yellow and blue atoms, or pixels, pollen in the wind leading me to the ocean and the beach. it took me some time to realise i was was dysphoric, it was not that i hated my body or did not identify with my gender - but that i did not, do not, recognise myself, and did not, and do not want to be contoured, restricted. i felt my limits, but sometimes my arms are beyond me, while i write this, they are at my sides, swimming in the air, pulling me upwards. i want to be that air, float, become atoms and pixels, everything - not nothing. ihooq grounds me, not in my body, but in my hair. it situates me in a historical web, womxn who were hunted for their appearance that they had no control over, no say in. amplified by their solitary lifestyles. ihooq does as and when called - but the champs des possibles, right outside of “ L'Entrepôt77,” as it has been recently named - is a historical site of witchcraft, ritual and queerness in so-called montreal. I met the field for the first time last year, working with Jamie Ross, and without them i could not carry forth in this space. Here, ihooq will, calling attention to the field of possibilities, the plants found within, the stories it embodies, the weight of the train tracks, its inherent danger.
The presence of visitors is a fact of continued gentrification - be aware of that. But the field welcomes you in, follow it - be wary of pests, this space is rewilded. This is not mine to show you, but ours to experience, ours to sit with. Maybe ihooq will clean it up, water dry plants, and invite you to draw them with them. Let’s name them together, and if we don't know their names, we’ll feel through them to find out - what do they look like? Smell like? Perhaps let’s not taste them, just in case they are poisonous. Does anyone have an app that identifies plants? Let’s use it if it helps us. They were here before us, this is not a new space - it is new to you, new to me. Let’s get to know it. What was this metal structure before? Let’s create ancient new futures. I’ll tell you the stories, those I can find anyway. And invite you to join me, covered or not. As you wish. What do your atoms and pixels look like? With or without sheets, how do we become ghosts, for lack of a better word? Maybe air is better - flowing energy, formless.
places to put things, ihooq plants seeds.
this is the first time ihooq does something, well not the first. the second actually. but the real first time was documented in a sketchbook i probably will never see again, part of brooklyn library’s sketchbook project.
here, ihooq was given a red kuri squash, and when they went to clean out the squash’s insides to make some yummy soup, they noticed the seeds had sprouted. they simply could not be roasted. so ihooq set them aside for a couple of days, keeping them moist, and eventually set off on a quest. the seeds had to be planted, they had to be in the park, and they had to be done on the night before halloween.
ihooq hopes they will grow on mount royal and surprise squash will take over the plateau. but ihooq knows the soil on the island of montreal is sick, and the likelihood of this happening is very slim.
so each seed was planted, carefully, ritually. each casting a spell of hope. hope that they would grow, hope for the surprise squash, hope for the city and the environment and the people that lived here, and live here still.
when i was in CEGEP, my art history professor dove deep into marcel duchamp. the french dada artist is one i was already very familiar with, but i had not thought very much about before. not only do i think marcel’s work is hilarious, but i think that the work he was doing was ingenious for his time. art can be anything, sign a fancy name on a piece of garbage, make it art. vandalise a portrait, art.
LHOOQ is one of his best, in my opinion. so subtle and comical, the mona lisa with facial hair. nothing more, nothing less. simple and powerful. the name is something i immediately connected to as a bilingual queb. pronouncing these letters in english means nothing - elle-ayche-oh-oh-cue. but in french, elle-a-chaud-au-cul. she has a hot ass (she is hot in the ass) - referring to the mona lisa as an object of lust, or a woman filled with anger, with a fire pushing forth her natural power (as i’d like to think… but i have a feeling it’s typically interpreted as the latter.) naturally i took it open myself to objectify men/everyone, in my own name - ihooq - y-a-chaud-au-cul. my own pronunciation of this is smooth and quick, but i tend to favour “ihooq” (e-hook) as a word. with these ideas i pushed forth a new persona, a visual representation of this powerful entity, with a fire under their ass. ihooq is, like a wookie, quite hairy.
the colour of my hair is one i could never identify, red, orange or ginger do no justice. each label has a derogatory stereotype. i’ve tried to recreate the perfect colour several times, and it is near impossible. womxn with this hair colour have been persecuted as witches, torchered, burned alive or objectified as mythological goddesses throughout history. my hair is the colour of fire, and it does define me.
ihooq is thus, all encompassing, and ever in progress. not polished whatsoever, quite messy, definitely needs some work, love and care. ihooq is graceful, present, asymetric, and powerful.