December's Curious Parcel was a collective effort from Brian Lobel, FK Alexander and Season Butler. We asked the very lovely Brian to share the inspiration and story behind it:
How would describe your Curious Parcel experience?
Our Curious Parcel is a guide to help you binge watch television better, with less guilt, more reflection. It's an attempt to make something extra-ordinary, out of the ordinary.
What inspired your Curious Parcel?
FK, Season and I share a love of television, and a love of talking about watching television. We are interested in how these often-fictional stories intersect with and influence our real lives, how television is often our travel companion on journeys high and low. We were also interested in why live art and performance often ignores this incredibly important part of society, and important aspect of our embodied experience - laying in bed or on a couch, alone or with a friend or partner, silently watching.
What do you hope people will take away from the experience?
I can't speak for FK or Season on this, but I hope it shifts their worldview just ever so slightly, and move from seeing boxsets as a place where they turn off their brain, to a place where they turn on their brain into perhaps a new/different gear. My previous projects have asked audiences to reconsider their relationship with Social Media or Illness, and I hope that this work does the same. It's a gentle nudge, a quiet nudge, but I think we are all fish who could use a bit more self-awareness about the water we're swimming in.
Your work often comes from a very personal place. Is there a story behind your love of binge watching?
I first binged watched Sex and the City (on VHS!) when I had cancer and was literally unable to do anything other than lay on the couch, be sick, heal, cry, think, etc. SATC became a huge comfort for me, and I liked the action of just letting the tape roll onto the next episode, over and over, without judgement, without saying I was watching too much.
I'm aware that Netflix and binge-watching has had adverse affects on industries such as theatres/live events/restaurants, but isn't binge-watching, hiding at the end of the day, comfort watching maybe the only acceptable response to a world which features May, Trump, Bolsonaro, etc etc etc?
The Curious Parcel aims to be a showcase for its guest artists. In what ways does your Curious Parcel reflect the work you make?
Like all my work, I want to both provide an audience with a unique experience and reflect on part of their life that they might not often put under the microscope. Like my one-to-one performance You Have to Forgive Me, You Have to Forgive Me, You Have to Forgive Me, my work is more rewarding for audiences who are really up for an investment, of time, and of heart. And finally, our Curious Parcel feels related to my previous projects because it's (hopefully) accessible, understandable, and generous to all audiences. It is what it is, and we hope you enjoy it.
And finally, tell us what's next for you guys, and where we can next catch your work?
My new performance, '24 Italian Songs & Arias', opens 15 January, on the same day... as FK Alexander's new performance 'Diana is Dead' at The Yard in London. We're on a double-bill. Come see us! Season's debut novel, 'Cygnet', comes out in the Spring. Buy it! It's spectacular!