“Fuck! Fuck you fuck me fuck old people fuck children fuck peace! Fuck peace.”
Miranda July shouts at her car’s steering wheel. With a black Sharpie, she scrawls FUCK in huge letters on the inside of her windshield. She drives. Sunlight filters through tree branches; our view of the leaves filters through FUCK. We see the world through the word. A woman tries to move beyond language, but in order to do so she must drive through it, with it.
In 1995, a twenty-one-year-old July arrived in Portland, Oregon, after dropping out of the University of California, Santa Cruz. In Portland, she encountered a new kind of punk. While the content of nineties Northwest punk differed from the versions that had come before, it shared a context: punk was an infrastructure, a shell that anyone could inhabit. This new variety was softer in places—more open to gender play, feminism—and it embraced an expansive queer strangeness. It was shopping (or shoplifting) from thrift stores, going to all-ages shows, running off photocopied zines.It was punk music’s “Fuck it, they won’t play our shit on the radio anyway” stance, the impulse to create one’s audience before making the art to show them. For July, the Pacific Northwest was an inviting wilderness of potential voices and stories.
“July’s primary vehicle is language, but our everyday, tangible vehicles—cars, shoes, and bodies—are what move things along.”
“Through performative fictions, July’s work highlights the courage of living honestly—of daring to be vulnerable, to play and love in the face of shame, pain, and fear.”
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