IN CONVERSATION - REFUSE // JONATHAN GONZALEZ, NIC KAY, SAMANTHA CC
Group effort—in which we find a place together amid spaces of opposition. During the second program of Volume VII: On Resistance, artists come together via the classic tradition and social presence, the exploration of opposing forces, and a meditation on care. On TCS’ In Conversation, we gather REFUSE artists Jonathan Gonzalez, Nic Kay, and Samantha CC to talk resistance in their own words. Read on to learn more.
the CURRENT SESSIONS (TCS): Thank you for taking the time to share a few words with us. Perhaps a larger question, we’d like to hear on what you consider your role(s) to be in life, as an artist, as person?
Nic Kay (NK): I have the gift of communicating very seemingly complex ideas in ways which make people feel the idea, understanding themselves in a new way.
To share spirit.
To motivate people to live the lives they deserve to live.
And fight for the lives of all oppressed people.
Jonathan Gonzalez (JG): Shifting engagements within overlapping circles that make up my life. I am an older brother, son, passenger, student, instrument, facilitator, educator, performer, instigator, choreographer, recluse, nightwalker, lover. I try my best to make the divisions of those roles permeable, my presence spoken for with sincere pause.
Samantha CC (SC): One thing that gets me going in life is bringing people together. I’ve always really loved connecting people to opportunities and alliances that would benefit them. My recent curatorial work has been a great opportunity to put this desire into action. This word gets overused, but I do also think of myself as a healer when it comes to my performance practice. I want to connect with an audience by processing my vulnerability and struggles in a very open way. Hopefully when they see my work they will feel less alone in whatever they are processing, and feel as though they can open up along with me.
TCS: Always a gift to find a healing space through the arts, as well as to share spirit and motivate. Let’s keep it short and sweet. In three words, describe the work you’re presenting at Volume VII: On Resistance.
NK: Containers, walls, collage.
JG: Interference, traveling, hungry.
SC: Alchemical, spiritual, operatic.
TCS: Now a little more on influences: Have there been any people or experiences that encouraged the work you’ll be presenting at Volume VII: On Resistance?
Death / Murder / Suicide
Fast and Slow disappearances
Memory and Erasure
JG: I am thinking of mythologies of the classic tradition and social present — of Ik/Icarus, Kalief Browder, the men of incarceration that raised me and raised them, the closure of Riker’s Island, and the penitentiaries that confine the body versus the greater institutions that confine imagination. The recollection of the pigeon men — sounds of wings soaring in choir and the clapping of human hands on rooftops guiding their motions— a bridge —an entanglement point when bodies merge. One’s will to venture further than the ills of this world, it’s prophetics produces wings. A gesture larger than life: perhaps to call for death, or transcendence, or a continuation of a kind unnamed.
SC: At first, I was trying to develop Sanctuary into a screenplay. Instead, I created a live performance; eventually, I’d love to turn this work into film which explores multiple characters. The idea was inspired partially by my own life. I went through a period of extreme depression a few years back, I remember noticing that social media often heightened my feelings of social rejection and anxiety. Simultaneously, I also noticed that social media was enabling connections between people from different parts of the world, leading to a lot more creativity. Every platform contains its own version of heaven and hell. I decided to take that idea and make it more literal within this piece. In terms of style, I was inspired both by opera, and by glamorous crooners like David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Nick Cave and Kate Bush.
TCS: We hear the interconnectedness of your stories. How do the ideas in your work connect to the word or meaning of “resistance”?
SC: In this particular piece, there’s a utopian resistance that is happening. You can resist ideology that demonizes and dehumanizes you and create your own utopian way of envisioning yourself, your “people” and your future. It only becomes effective social resistance if you put it out there at the level of human connection. If it’s in your mind, it can revolutionize your personal sphere.
JG: Resistance is defined as, the refusal to accept or comply with something. My work engages departure points, when perhaps the body slips into another reading for the viewer, when the homeostasis of the outside becomes estranged. I think of/through performance as a vehicle to encapsulate another time/ing, and participation. This may be a resistance— or a longing — and a perpetuating spacetime I imagine and desire to share.
TCS: Last one… We want to know: What does the dance-performance-visual arts-arts world need more of? Less of?
JG: ++ Eachother. Resources. Sponsored Vacations. Love Piles.
SC: I think performance is having a really great cultural moment right now. With this, we need to find more ways to have performance practices be financially sustainable. Performers are often asked to work for free at events, whereas other artists or musicians get paid. Our work makes an organized event more dynamic, exciting; we need organizers to show that they value our time and effort. If this doesn’t happen, or isn’t as apparent, it discourages the performer, the person who is struggling to get by, on deciding to continue this practice. Compensation on some level is important. Even if it isn’t much, it acknowledges that the artist and their survival are being considered.
TCS: Love piles, and financial stability. Can’t say no to that. Looking forward to seeing how your works unfold in the space and with our audience!
REFUSE is the second program of the CURRENT SESSIONS’ Volume VII: On Resistance, taking place Saturday, August 19 at 8pm. See the full schedule and get tickets here.