<Doubles> by Jacob Peter Kovner

Doubles is an interview project with an alter-ego. A guest performer and Jacob alternate monologues in which they speak as real and fictive version of Kovner. They then have conversation about their relationship to the material and the affective transfer taking place, while it remains constantly negotiated and ambivalent whether they speak as themselves, or whether it's an exchange between projected and projection.

Excerpt #1 (Brussels, December 2018)

Artist: I think that’s kind of what we say the value is of this kind of work, but, I’m sorry, let’s get real, I am using you, I am using all of you, I am using you (double), and there’s a certain extent to which I don’t understand why you wouldn’t tell me that. I mean, you’re being polite and I appreciate that, but I am using you, I am using you to have catharsis, I am using you to watch me suffer because I get off on that, and so I think it’s important to have the egotism in the room and—

Spectator 1: It’s not about being polite. I am using you as much as you use me, because I am taking inspiration, I am thinking thoughts out of this conversation. Otherwise, I wouldn’t come here. 

Artist: That’s fair.


[to spectator] Your clarity and forcefulness is - uh - intimidating but wonderful, and [to the double] I guess I’m wondering if you can relate to that? 

Artist's Double [Bryan Campbell]: Whether I’m using you as much as you’re using me?

Artist: Yeah

Artist's Double: I don’t know if I’m particularly interested in thinking about this as an equal exchange, actually, in spite of the fact that this about being equals at the very beginning. I don’t know, uhm — I’m getting things. I’m getting things but I’m not evaluating whether it’s a proper transaction or something like that.  

And if it were a proper transactions … or if it were an abusive situation, then that’s it’s own problem. I’ve learned a lot from very abusive situations. Not to say that someone using you is necessarily an abusive situation, but that suggests it. 

Spectator 2: Do you want us to feel used? It seems like it with the forcefulness with which you say we are being used. You are kind of forcing me in the position of being used which I didn’t feel so much while I was watching. Like you say, we are here with artists to discuss a work, which is  something that we share - a practice, I think. You are also pushing me in a position that now I feel used, I didn’t before. So I wonder, do you want me to feel used and if so, why?

Excerpt #2 (Berlin, KW/Bob's Pogo Bar, April 2018)

Artist's Double [Bruno Zhu]: Can I stop you right there - am I difficult to work with?

Artist: Uh, for sure, yeah. I mean the proposal is that I talk to someone else, and that I also talk to myself. Somehow the task is that we’re always doing both, or at least I’m always doing both. And you’re funny because on one level you say yes, you’re in, and you also don’t really say no, but you fight from within. And so I don’t know what that actually means about why you’re here and what you want from me. <pauses> Do you want to be close to me?

Artist's Double: I do.

Artist: I feel that. But then I don’t know why you’re always fighting me.

Artist's Double: I’m afraid of being consumed by you.

Artist: Do you think that I don’t actually take seriously this idea of talking to someone else—

Artist's Double: I don’t know how to be your friend, to be honest.

Artist: Yeah, <exasperated> that’s why we’re working together.

Artist's Double: We’re workers together, we’re not friends I guess, are we?

Artist: I don’t know. <pauses> But we’re working together.

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