Social Therapy Act 1.1: A Conversation
A month before their performance at Los Caminos on September 3rd, 2011, Nicholas Jacobs and Kasper Lorene Woldtvedt fill me in on their progress and process. This performance will be the first in an ongoing, developing series they call Social Therapy.
I press record mid-sentence:
Nicholas Jacobs: -going to see your nipples eventually!
Marie Heilich: You’re going to be topless?
Kasper Lorene Woldtvedt: I’m not sure, maybe not for this first one.
NJ: I thought you were.
KLW: We haven’t really talked about if I’m going to be clothed or not. It depends on if you’re going to be topless.
MH: You’re matching?
NJ: Kind of. We know what we want to say, just not what we’re wearing and some other details like that.
MH: Gotcha. So all I know about your performance is that Sonny and Cher are on the show card. Let’s start there.
KLW: We came to Sonny and Cher when Nick suggested a picture of us, but not us. There was this trinity that happened.
NJ: Sonny and Cher were such a weird couple, no? Where one failed the other succeeded.
MH: (laughs) How so?
NJ: Sonny wasn’t exactly a looker, Cher was a hottie. He was short, she towered over him. Today she’s preserved, she’s petrified, she’s been wrapped up in pop culture while Sonny is, well, dead.
MH: Which petrifies him as well…
NJ: Yeah but after the whole Sonny and Cher show he wound up being a politician in California or something like that.
MH: Weird, didn’t know that.
NJ: Well, fact check it…but I’m almost certain. Another part of our draw to them is, or was, their daughter, Chastity.
KLW: First of all her name is loaded and hilarious.
MH: It’s a pretty solid stripper name.
NJ: Right! Like Faith or Hope or anything else found on the inside a Christmas card…But now, after her sex change, “Chastity” will no longer exist. Chastity will forever be a preserved idea, like her parents. It’s almost like a visage of her father, the second coming of Sonny Bono. It’s this weird nebulous ball of sexuality, preservation, and the intertwinement of identities. So Sonny and Cher are on the show card and, spoiler alert, a picture of Chaz Bono will be in the gallery.
MH: You and I have talked about show cards a lot – Are they necessary anymore? In this case, I like how you use them.
NJ: Since Kasper and I both have graphic design backgrounds, this lent us to create a showcard that would contribute to the concept of the performance.
KLW: Right, to us it became a work in itself, or at least a key or clue to the piece as a whole.
MH: Plus I always enjoy a meaningful “takeaway object”.
KLW: Weird thing is, the original idea for the performance didn’t even come from a conversation about Sonny and Cher and Chaz. It was more personal. Nick and I collaborated throughout school, but also, since we’re really close, it’s more of our everyday conversations and exchange of ideas that brings us to a place where collaborating on new projects just makes sense.
NJ: Yeah, it’s kind of a clusterfuck of ideas, no real lineage.
MH: Does the performance have lineage?
NJ: I’d say so. It’s a series of events in three parts.
KLW: It goes problem, resolving, resolution. So there is an end point where the performance in a sense will be over but we see that more as a cue for the audience. It’s not really “over”…it’s more like a break. You can’t create something without limitations. Whether it’s an object in space or in this case events in time. When you’re putting an audience in a position where they’re forced to watch, a start and stop is required.
NJ: I don’t really see it as forcing people. You have the choice whether to leave a performance. People are watching of their own volition, forcing sounds so S and M to me…or kind of like when you’re at church and you don’t want to be there anymore, you can’t really just leave.
KLW: I’m interested in the audience’s response to a start and stop – Where their expectations come to light.
MH: What is it, do you think, that defines an audience’s expectations?
KLW: Well in this case, Los Caminos has established a reputation over the past year, so the audience expects to see something thoughtful. On the other hand, the space regularly functions as an apartment, a living space which I find translates to a more “true to life” performance.
NJ: Where a performance takes place is going to guide a piece in the same way as what we’re wearing adds nuances and content. Every choice you make becomes part of the performance. Everything is loaded.
Social Therapy: “Act 1.1” is a one night event at Los Caminos on Saturday, September 3rd from 7-9pm.