UNFO THERAPIST: SELF-HELP COCKTAIL PARTY
UNFO (UNAUTHORIZED NARRATIVE FREEDOM ORGANIZATION) / HAROLD ABRAMOWITZ & AMANDA ACKERMAN
UNFO (Unauthorized Narrative Freedom Organization) / Harold Abramowitz & Amanda Ackerman
“UNFO Therapist: Self-Help Cocktail Party” was conceived and performed within the context of the Bureau of Experimental Speech and Holy Theses (BESHT), part of the Project 44 Series at Pomona College Museum of Art, which billed itself as an experiment in public address, (exploring) the commingling of oratory, authority and performance. The series was curated and designed by Adam Overton and Tanya Rubbak.
“Self-Help Cocktail Party” investigated the self-help aphorism as therapeutic tool, somatic text, and terminal point in narrative. Ancient Egyptian priests would place words in water to drink them, and then embody the sacred knowledge they contained. In “UNFO Therapist: Self-Help Cocktail Party” we invited visitors to “mix” cocktails from a choice of 33 water glasses labeled with individual self-help aphorisms. Each participant could then customize their drink to suit their unique therapeutic needs. What happens when the aphorism is understood as material and embodied? The aphorism is sincere, manufactured and an attempt to universally act as a Band-Aid for a variety of individual problems (hence it becomes the terminal point in one’s personal story). We also read the aphorisms out loud in a variety of sequences. The texts were imbibed and read alongside the accompaniment of classic cocktail music that temporarily converted the Pomona College Museum of Art’s project space into a congenial space for guided meditation, lounging and language consumption.