Purple Magazine
— The Future Issue #37 S/S 2022




when i think about my friend hyd, i see them in the driver’s seat, up in the air or in my hand, facetiming me from hour two in the bath, petals and special stones with them in the water.

as much as through our closeness i have grown to know their work intimately, there is something ever moving about their output that leaves me always learning and feeling something new.

after the release of their latest ep, we talked about this new body of work through in-person sync-ups, sporadic voice memos, patched-together e-mail threads, and nonverbal downloads.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — Hi angel, mega congrats on your gorgeous EP release! As you know, I love to start interviews by asking people their pronouns.
HYD — They / them, you angel.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — And where are you right now?
HYD — I’m on a plane to London from New York, sky-office-style.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — I’m so excited to dig into this ongoing dialogue and the world of Hyd with you. Why songs on all the materials you work with?
HYD — I’m working with air as a primary material. The container, called a song, is made up of sounds made from the movement of air. Whispers, breath, condensation, fire. It’s the presence of something held beyond a body — they exist, but you can’t touch them. They translate emotion and send messages, but they’re not bound to earthly constraints. Air is a material to be sculpted and shaped through a mouth — it’s this invisible source that holds us. I really identify with air as a state of being. I started working on pop music around the same time as I started working with vapor. Songs are like a ladder to heaven made out of air.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — Yes, I believe this so deeply. But, more specifically, what are the songs made of?
HYD — For me, it opens with textures. When I started working on Hyd, I saw dragon skin. Lighter fluid. Tears. The opportunity to phoenix into something else. Air to ash to air. An empty field. Grass smell. Chlorophyll. I wanted to drink it. It starts there for me. The thing about pop music is that it is bodied and ephemeral at the same time. It’s a communication system. If I have a feeling, I hear it as a song, and that song operates as a kind of universal connector. I can play it for the person I am with or sing it to them, and it carries complex feelings that are both direct and spacious at the same time. You can hold entire worlds in a three-minute soundscape that can be exchanged on a global scale and transverses time. When someone hears a voice, your air, you are there with them, no matter where or when they are. Whatever they’re feeling or thinking, you can transform it through this medium. My songs carry this frequency of care. Some of them come from places of frustration or joy that, for me, language couldn’t hold, but the song can. This is the medium I am most excited by at the moment. The lyrics started forming and felt more like transmissions. I invited my collaborators, Sophie and A.G. Cook, to a volcanic island to begin working. Sophie and I had been songwriting together for years for other artists and slowly building up songs for Hyd. Later, I continued working with friends in London within the PC Music collective, like Easyfun, then in Paris working with Nomak, in New York working with Caroline Polachek and umru, and in LA alongside Jónsi and Alex Somers.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — I feel like so much of what you do, both internally and externally, has been about world-building. Can you talk about what this means to you?
HYD — A few years ago, I remember this conversation we had about “Heaven on Earth.” We were at my girlfriend’s house by the East River in New York, and I think I had just had surgery or something. It was a Heaven on Earth time. The question became: how can we transform this world to be a place where both angels and humans can thrive? Which, for me, then became HOE living. HOE life. How can I be more HOE, lassoing heaven and bringing it down to earth? I think about this a lot. There is a potential with this to exist in a different world than the one we inherited or a different body than the one we were born with. For me, this reality is an invitation to think beyond what you can see or what is practical and possible and really hold a vision of the next world here and now. To live and act as if it is now. We can talk about it as an ecosystem of care, where increased sensitivity is cherished. Where bodies are flexible, mutable, soft, and hard. And empathy is hot.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — It’s so hot. I know that, with your work, the body has been both a site for experimentation and a starting point to go beyond.
HYD — Speaking of hot, I was talking to Pippa Garner yesterday, who describes her body as a play toy: something to augment, expand upon, and play with, which I relate to. So much of me can’t be seen by eyes. My body extends beyond its form, so it’s something that can be felt but not literally seen. This obsession with what is physically evident is something that I’m not interested in. So much of our world, up until this point, has been located in physical resources. Mining for specific minerals. Value based on physicality. It’s not relevant. What really excites me is the other part of this world that’s invisible but here.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — I feel like your work, in a way, is a transmission, undulating information from this realm beyond and then grounding back — making it visible or accessible here, to bring the transmission into earth mode. I think about your lyric “Ball-and-chain, document” from “Skin 2 Skin”…
HYD — I’m always listening for other modes of communication. Not just from what is here, but from what is no longer here. I am listening for people who are not bodied here anymore. I am listening for light shining in the dark. “Ball-and-chain, document” is a reference to being inside a body, almost like it’s an anchor with a cord that connects to the sky. It’s a miracle to be on Earth. I am so excited to get to feel things here through my body. Working on world-building with you and people we love is an unbelievable gift.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — You are so good at this and have built up such special systems to navigate this earthly terrain of grief and complexity, with so much care and intention.
HYD — Death and processing loss have led to a lot of different approaches. I am going back to London for the first time since my longtime partner passed away. I have been doing this practice of imagining planting seeds at places I will now be going to on my own, for the first time since she left, so when I get there physically, I will receive a tiny light from my past self, so that it might be easier to navigate. I don’t know if it will work, but I’m trying it.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — [Pauses and holds hands over heart] In the realm of seeds, I want to dig into the greater rhizome of your output. Your work has been consumed in somewhat externally bisected realms — i.e. QT [an initialism for Quinn Thomas, Hyd’s music project] magnetizing a community somewhat separate from the people your sculptural work has reached over the years. You once described a throughline between your trans-media practice as “experiential design.” Can you expand on that?
HYD — I started working in frequencies when I was in college in New York, maybe around the time you and I first met. Later, around 2013, Sophie and I started doing research together about how we wanted to be in a relationship, the materials of that relationship, and how we wanted to be organized. This eventually led to us merging into a shared form called QT. QT, for me, is a space that I existed in with her during the first five years of our relationship. Together we lived in London, New York, and eventually LA, which was a long-term base for both of us. Outside of these physical spaces, we both lived inside this frequency together, a secret space for transformation, experimentation, and a new way of approaching partnership as well as our individual bodies. QT is a frequency I hosted and received. It’s a place to play and experiment, for me. We rested inside it and took care of each other. Actualized through it. Meanwhile, in our individuated lives, I lived under the name Hayden Dunham and, at other times, under other names. I had multiple lives circulating at the same time. I also made an energy drink and pushed into what it means to be a container — to be inside a container and explode it from the inside out through an extra fizzy, mouth-tickling material. You tried the first version.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — Yes. Didn’t it get so fizzy it exploded?
HYD — Yes. When I opened my suitcase, the shredded aluminum burst out, and this lavender bergamot stickiness haze spread over everything. There is nothing I love more than exploding containers, as you know. QT the liquid didn’t need to stay in its can — it could extend beyond it. My work holds its own language of materials that change form on their own. They move beyond themselves and are in perpetual motion. My first show with Andrea Rosen involved a massive kinetic breathing sculpture that, on opening night, refused to exhale and got bigger and bigger into the night. Failure, experimentation, and entropy lead the conversation of my life a lot. Trying something. Challenging materials to the point of expansion. Letting them leak out, accepting their evolution and change. Another piece in a show called “Canary for the Family” in LA escaped through a hole in the floor, filling up the lower gallery with DD, an entity that helped me hack embodiment that I created as part of my sculptural practice. Over the course of the exhibition, DD moved from a liquid to a solid state. And so did I. This is what I am working on now with Hyd. My body and embodiment, in general, have been the first template for my work. All of my practices are part of the same language system but have different outputs. The materials include my air, movement, silicon, biotin, glass, sound waves, magnetic liquids, ruptures inside and outside of these spaces. When you and I worked together for my show at PS1, “7 Sisters,” so much of the work was a setup for something to come through. You hovering above the reflection of the water in your latex gloves… This is the potential of performance for me: that it can push past the limitations of time or physicality and host something else larger than itself.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — Yes, I feel it. That was such a special piece to be a part of. I’m curious if this is similar to how we can relate to the future within a nonlinear understanding of time…
HYD — Yes. For me, time is not linear. It’s not that you are born, and then you die. There is not a beginning and an ending. It keeps going. My experience of time is that it is a catalyst. Cycles repeat again and again until a rupture happens, and you get to move beyond that cycle. In the world, there are all these reminders of this, like the sun rising and setting, petals falling and becoming seeds, coming up again. When Sophie changed forms, my whole community filled my studio with flowers that eventually lost their water and color and dropped their petals on the ground. I think seeing time move through this cycle of life was a big moment for me. I started picking them up and realized the seeds are a gift to the ground. The fallen flowers are seeds for the next plant. This reality of loss and acceptance challenged me to think differently about death and also communication, my attachments to being bodied here, and really think of air as a conductor for connection and trans-dimensional intimacy. Everything changed. The songs we made changed. She and I had been working on this communication system for the last eight years that involved showing up in different forms for each other. The song “Hey QT” is about this. When you see someone in another form, you can transcend space and time. Like a light moving across the pavement, or a feather coming in from a shut window. I realized at some point that this loss is asking me to listen differently.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — Yes, deeply. It’s a gift how people can live beyond their bodies in the form of love.
HYD — It’s just true. There are so many ways to be here. With a body, without a body. Love is the material that shapes out infinite possibilities in my life. It’s a harder one to talk about because it exists inside private spaces, but in these spaces of in-betweenness is where something can come through. Being raised within queer time and space, there is a reality of love and physical loss. When I first moved to New York, I lived on Hudson and 13th in an apartment full of plants that had been left behind by tenants who passed away during the AIDS epidemic. Remember that house? I never knew them, but their presence continued through the care of these plants. I learned how to navigate time through queer and trans people who actually remade this world through divine vision and presence. I think about you. Sophie. Tourmaline, Jade, Genesis P-Orridge, Félix González-Torres, and Beverly Glenn-Copeland. My friends who are all working together to hold the world differently. So many people I was raised by are no longer here in their bodies but present beyond their form. I think about joy and pleasure and embodiment as radical acts — how can I be embodied and not be only my body at the same time. I’m thinking of Megan Thee Stallion singing “Body-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody…” and sometimes I just hold this sound in my mind as a kind of internal reminder. Sophie continues to teach me in this way. I feel her all the time holding me. It’s as if she didn’t need her form in order to come through. Of course, as I’m saying this, it hurts that she isn’t here in her body that I love. That she made. That is so precious and robust and holy to me. The reality of this world is that there are constantly new ways of being embodied that don’t rely on what is physically here.

BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — Such a gift. I feel so grateful to build interwoven worlds with you. Into the future, can you share more about what you’re growing with Hyd and beyond?
HYD — Angel, you are the gift. 2022 will hold a new body of work for me. The first is an album. The second is a solo show in the fall at Company Gallery in New York. Everything is connected. The album is a molting journey. A molten journey. It’s almost episodic in its depth. Snakeskin — solid to translucent as it peels off the body, Phoenix rising without feathers, dust and ash, electrical live wires trying to connect, post fire, post form, new air. New form now. It’s coming from one thing and becoming another. Moving past the physical world into an air space where we are held and free. It’s fire in the garden where the ash is full of seeds. It’s the understanding of a future garden that is here, but to get to it, you have to let go of everything. Release it, put it in the fire, wash it away. Set it free. It’s about loss, acceptance, resistance, and coming into a place of choosing Earth. Choosing the process of this life. Grounding when it’s easier to fly. It’s also about agency. Of making a world where these things are integrated. A return. Grateful for you, Bobbi, your work here, and everything we’re building together.




Hayden Dunham, model —  Joey George at MA+Group using Oribe hair care, hair — Kabuki using Chanel beauty , make-up Gerard Santos at Lalaland Artists, set design— Eli Barry and Ivory Serra, photographer’s assistant — Szalay Miller, stylist’s assistant

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The Future Issue #37 S/S 2022

Table of contents

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