Controlled Burn artist Jasper Rubin Hardin on the importance of creating art.
Tell us about the work you’re performing at Controlled Burn. What’s it about?
My piece is a performance of a collection of poems I wrote about the six genders of the talmud. It’s an analysis of the ways my culture used to view gender, and a reframing of what it means to be trans and Jewish.
What motivates your work?
So many things honestly. I create because I’ve never known anything else. I create because it’s a great way to start important conversations. I create because sometimes it’s all my hands are able to do. And I mostly create because it’s what I know I can bring to the world. I want nothing more than to contribute necessary change.
Which artists and/or performances have inspired you?
Takumba Aiken has deeply inspired me since I was young. His visual art is astounding and the way he’s nurtured and built community here means a lot to me. Meghana and Chetan Junurus’ commitment to by-and-for autistic advocacy through both their writing and the building of their housing center is my biggest inspiration. Sophie Campbell’s comics have a level of importance to the queer cannon in a way I’ll never be able to fully put words to.
Are you working on any other projects at the moment or coming up on the horizon?
I’ve got a few upcoming projects in the next couple months. I’m working on my upcoming performance in The Naked I: Revitalized. I have an upcoming performance at ERR in April. The second issue of my literary journal that is by and for non- and semi-speaking disabled writers and artists is currently open for submissions. It’s called Explicit Literary Journal. And lastly I’ll be reading at the release show for Can’t Somebody Fix What Ails Me?, an anthology by chronically ill and disabled writers.
Aside from your artistic work, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies or passions in life?
I spend my time doing disability advocacy and consulting work. I’m often brought in to help local organizations improve their accessibility. I love taking care of animals and going on adventures with my friends. I collect comic books. I love studying resources and learning new facts. I don’t go enough, but I adore song sessions. And I enjoy cooking and making desserts.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Twin Cities?
Exploring the variety of art communities we have here is always a joy. Also all our parks and lakes are gorgeous.
Who are your favorite artists right now and why?
Amethyst Kiah is a fantastic musician and lyricist. Her voice is enchanting and the way she tells stories inspires my writing. Ryan Smoluk’s sculptures are mesmerizing. His work showcases such a surreal and magical realistic perspective on life.
Why do you think artmaking is important work?
Art is necessary both for each individual culture and as a way to view our world as a whole. Art amplifies the voices of those who aren’t heard otherwise. Art allows people to heal in an inexplicable way.
Describe your pre-performance ritual if you have one.
I usually listen to Hades Town or In The Heights while I recite my poems to myself.
Jasper will be performing on Thursday, February 13 @ 7:30pm at Controlled Burn: Queer Performance for a World on Fire.