Courtesy of artist.

Lunar Snails and Galactic Cocktails: Throwing A House Party on the Moon

By Jad Dahshan
In Practice: The UChicago Arts Blog
July 24, 2020


The Moon has long been a muse for artists, poets, and lovers. Yet, might we also find the Moon a site for temporary retreat and respite away from the cruelties of Earth? Away from COVID-19? Away from capitalism? Perhaps the Moon’s frozen terrain offers fertile ground for revolutionary ideas to sprout and new ways of being to blossom. Presented as part of the Gray Center’s, Another Idea, Kyle Bellucci Johanson’s chance encounters for a third try: attempting a house party on the moon consists of three ‘house parties’ hosted on the Moon. Using virtual reality technologies, Zoom, and other web-based software, Johanson simulated his apartment on the Moon’s surface and invited guests to dance, converse, drink, smoke, read, game, and more.

chance encounters for a third try offers viewers an immersive, exploratory space. The experience is mediated via a virtually constructed replica of the artist’s apartment, which one can explore as if a character in a video game, finding links to videos, texts, and tutorials hidden in the walls and floors. The Zoom meetings which are embedded within the virtual space offer exploratory opportunities for guests to meditate on ideas ranging from the frivolous to the serious. A third aspect of the exploration is its characterization as an attempt: the fact that each of the house parties hosted in June and July built off of the one before, and that each one allowed the artist and his collaborators to experiment with the programs they were using as material. This classification of the work as an attempt is fundamental to the project.

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