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When Your Art Is Obsolete: Iceland's Reigning Drag King On Lockdown Art

Updated: Feb 26, 2021

by HANS

 
"MY ART IS DEAD AND IT’S NOT EVEN A COOL ART FORM"
Photos: Oddný Svava Steinarsdóttir & HANS (2020)

CN: Suicide mention


Today, I ripped off a wig that took me 40 hours to make and gracelessly ran screaming into the Atlantic ocean. As the waves knocked out my Hókus Pókus contacts, I crawled sensually through kelp and mess while washing blood and frosting from under my nails—all to the tune of “KILL4ME” by Marilyn Manson. How’s that for fucking drama.


Pray to attention

Pray to plastic whores

Pls God, validation

Life is so ~fUcKiNg BoRiNg~


On the beach, four people stood in attendance: A director, a director of photography, a PA, and some random old dude who came across our set and decided to stay for the free show. In the past, a performance with a four-person crowd would be a resounding and (extremely) awkward failure. Today, it was invigorating. Shivering, clutching my (extremely) expensive ruined wig, I consumed the apotheosis of being experienced as wholly and as deeply as I did Marilyn Manson’s divorce—look at that reference back to the first paragraph—as a bullied mall-goth pre-teen.


Lap it up Hans, a voice growled in my head. Savour the eye of the camera as if you’ve already been exposed to Miss ‘Rona and are about to choke to death. This might be all you get.


(Tbh, I assume no one reading this magazine is familiar with the story of Manson’s divorce, but Dita Von Teese served him divorce papers on Valentine’s Day. How’s that for fucking drama.)


Photos: Oddný Svava Steinarsdóttir & HANS (2020)

MY ART IS DEAD AND IT’S NOT EVEN A COOL ART FORM


IT’S ONE FOR PEOPLE THAT WANT TO BE SOMEONE ELSE

BUT STILL WANT A PAT ON THE BACK


“I LOVE YOUR CUT CREASE CAN I HAVE A PICTURE THAT I WILL NEVER LOOK AT AGAIN?”


We all pretend that there are no empirical requirements to identifying as an artist. That’s GAT3K33P1NG, we tell ourselves, and as woke 2020 libtards (can we reclaim that word?), we don’t subscribe to any such pretension.


But—quietly, secretly, and with extreme self-satisfaction, I promise—all of us do judge those dreamy hopeless talkers at afterparties who tell you enthusiastically that they are up-and-coming musicians despite having made no music. They’re not, we tell ourselves as we nod along and pretend to act impressed, “musicians.” We know (and they do too, probs) that they haven’t done the work and thus don’t deserve the title of “artist”—just “consumers-who-want-to-be-consumed.”


So if I accept said criterium as I always have, can I, HANS—the current reigning Drag King of Iceland—even call myself a “drag performer” anymore? Since March, I’ve gotten into full drag maybe three times. For reference, in 2019, I averaged two times a week—a whopping 104 instances of HANS. But here I am, in 2020, with but a collection of wigs that never get worn and eyebrows that are slowly regrowing. Without a medium, can I really say I’m an artist?


*insert really good and relatable poem*

 

Related: Art versus Artist in RuPaul's Drag Race

 


Drag, fundamentally, requires a consumer. At its basis, it demands an audience, and traditionally, an in-person one. You get it front of people, do some shit, serve the crowd a fantasy, and they hopefully react with applause and money. You feel good, because you, as a drag performer, want validation but you’re so insecure that you couldn’t possibly imagine getting such attention without the accoutrements.


Perhaps that’s not fair, but drag, as my dear friend Gógó Starr put it, is, “broken art for broken people.”