SFBG I know you have a brother who is close to you in age who is also a designer. What kind of conversations do you have?
NC We come at it hard. We do not tolerate a lot of nonsense. We know it when we see it, we know who is bringing it and who’s not. We do all that we can do to protect the purity. It’s great -- we’re one year apart and aesthetically we have the same sensibility, so I can play off of his reaction to something. I might go to an exhibition and then he’ll go three days later and we’ll discuss it. We have an ongoing dialogue. It’s refreshing to have someone that you can connect with, or fight with sometimes and still love each other.
SFBG What is your mom’s reaction like?
NC She expects my shows to be at a certain level, and more. She also realizes that at an opening, it’s just as much her opening as it is mine, because of the amount of attention she gets as my mom. She knows that she has to be very present about my development and the direction of what I’m doing, so I think for her it’s a lot of work (laughs).
SFBG What is the experience of wearing the Soundsuits like for you personally? How does it vary from piece to piece?
NC For me, the difference between one and another is extreme. I take my time with all of it. I don’t really draw. [A Soundsuit] is intuitively developed, through materials provoking an idea.
Once I put it [a Soundsuit] on, I have to settle with myself. I don’t move for a while. I’ve got to reach the point where I surrender my identity and it’s no longer present. If you don’t do that, you find that it’s too overwhelming. People have had emotional breakdowns [in the Soundsuits] -- they’ve lost control.
I tell people to settle and work through the transformation, because that’s really what’s happening. Once you do that, it’s all about being present, finding out what [the Soundsuit] offers -- what the conditions and limitations of movement are, and what they mean. There’s a lot of work in the sense you have to move to a new identity. And then it’s all about conviction. Again, it’s about how much you are willing to surrender -- are you willing to get rid of inhibitions and let yourself go completely?
If you come from a dance background, there really aren’t a lot of times when you have a sense of freedom of expression and come into a new way of moving. It takes time to get to that point.