While performing, Freed prefers to avoid eye contact with the audience, while Fox often does so subconsciously. “Half of it is acted, but half of it is quite real, and it’s intimate,” Fox says, “so I end up actually interacting with people strangely or looking at people very directly, when maybe I’m not really meaning to.” At a performance in Tokyo last year, for example, audience members, alarmed at what they saw, began to intervene. “What you see in the performance is two people being in an extreme struggle, and in Tokyo, people started to help us,” Freed explains. “That’s not really what we want, but they reacted that way,” Fox adds. They note that they’ve never experienced such a reaction in Europe.
When I ask about the origins of the name New Noveta, the artists insist that it’s unimportant to their practice. Indeed, it’s difficult to apply words to what they’re creating. Perhaps it’s due to the slippery nature of the work—existing somewhere between performance, sound, and visual art. Or maybe it’s the urgency and intensity inherent to every showing; the way in which, during performances, the artists move as though they’ve been charged with electric currents. In the end, it may be best to surmise that New Noveta is nothing if not new.