LADA Screens: Johanna Went

Johanna Went
SD Video, colour, sound, 28’ 01”
Online 29 March – 11 April 2016

For this LADA Screens we are showing a film of Johanna Went’s seminal but rarely seen performance Knifeboxing, recorded at Club Lingerie in Los Angeles, California, 1984.

Johanna Went is a pioneering performance artist who began performing as part of a street theater troupe that travelled America and Europe in the 1970’s. 

Combining a wild, chaotic performing style packed with visual excitement, gallons of blood, streams of multicolored liquids, giant bloody tampons, enormous sewn fabric sculptures, wacky scary costumes and enough Styrofoam and found film stock to fill a room, Johanna packed the clubs in LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix and New York. For more than ten years she was known as an innovative performance artist, particularly for the visual richness of her on-stage characters. She was equally renowned for her use of live improvised music that crossed over from jazzy rock grooves and jungle beats to electronic soundscapes and industrial noise. And always, above all the wild, driving music: Johanna’s completely stream of consciousness vocals.

Knifeboxing features Johanna Went on vocals; Mark Wheaton on Steiner-Parker synth, tape loops and mixing; Greg Burk on Saxophone and Robin Ryan on Percussion.

Accompanying the online screening is a transcribed conversation between Johanna Went and Mark Wheaton about Knifeboxing. Thanks to Johanna Went and Mark Wheaton for making this screening possible.

A DVD compilation of Went's performances can be found on Club Years, which is available for sale on Unbound.

About LADA Screens

LADA Screens is a series of free, online screenings of seminal performance documentation, works to camera, short films/video and archival footage. It is part of Live Online, LADA’s dedicated space where you can watch short videos and films drawn from LADA’s Study Room or generated through our programmes and initiatives.

Each screening will be available to view for a limited time only, and will be launched with a live event at the White Building in Hackney Wick, London. Online art magazine, thisistomorrow will also feature the films on their website for the duration of the screenings.

For more information about LADA Screens contact Alex Eisenberg.

Banner image credit:

Image still from ‘Knifeboxing’ by Johanna Went

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