Sunday, April 3, 2011
I thought I'd answer a few frequently asked questions about the Blood Brothers performances.
Q: What's the deal with this whole thing?
A: I'm exploring the nature of constructed bonds, and how families are built.
A: I want to answer this one with a "why not?" but I realize that's not terribly useful. I'm using my personal biographical history as a springboard to larger issues and themes.
Q: What biographical history?
A: When I was five, my father (who had raised me from before I could form lasting memories) and biological mother married, and my father wanted to adopt me. Massachusetts state law wouldn't allow a child to be adopted who had a legal guardian, so my mother had to give me up to the state. For about fifteen minutes or so while paperwork was being filled out and signed I was legally an orphan. I waited out in the hall. Then both parents adopted me. I received a new birth certificate, name and social security card. I had to become a new person for the law of society to legally recognize our pre-existant familial bonds. I challenge the conflict of nature versus nurture. Nature and nurture coexist.
Q: Why don't you use real blood?
A: This is probably the most asked question. The short answer is that it would destroy the work. Real blood signifies biological bonding, and I'm exploring constructed or non-genetic bonding. I'm building my own Family Tree. I break down the ingredients of fake blood (the "traditional" recipe of corn syrup, corn starch and food coloring) and assign each a familial role: Mother, Father, Maternal Ancestor, Paternal Ancestor, and water for purity.
Q: What happens to me if I participate in the bonding ritual? Will I be cut?
A: No cutting. You'll have to participate to know what really happens. The experience is different for each person. I'm just a reflecting mirror, you take out what you put in.
Q: What's with the tickets?
A: The tickets are dated and individually numbered. Your name is filled in on each half and once the bonding ritual is complete we each sign in duplicate with a bloody thumbprint. I get one half, and you get the other. You are now part of the Family, and are connected to all the other Brothers who have come before you. There will be perks in the future for ticket-holding Brothers.
Q: Can I participate more than once?
A: Absolutely. Each performance starts a new branch of the Family Tree and connects you to all those Brothers who bonded before you.
Q: Why blood brother, can't I be your blood sister?
A: Anyone male or female can participate in the bonding ritual. The performance and the Family is gender neutral, the title of Brother is not due to its historic memetic structure.
Q: How many performances are you going to do?
A: As many as are necessary. My short-term goal is to gain 1000 Brothers.
Q: Will you perform Blood Brothers at [insert space/gallery/art event/etc.]?
A: Probably. Please email me at nathan at nathansharratt dot com and we can discuss possibilities.
Q: What next?
A: Blood Brothers is an ongoing project. I've shared my story, the next step is for you to share yours. A website will be set up for Brothers to tell their story. Sign up to be notified when the site is live.
Q: What story?
A: Your story.
Did I miss anything? Please comment if you have any questions I haven't answered here, and I'll update the post.