Conversations Without Walls: Joan Jonas & Eiko Otake
September 17, 2020
This conversation was recorded on May 21, 2020 and first broadcasted on YouTube Live Saturday, September 12, 2020.
The foundation of this Conversations Without Walls (CWW) between Eiko Otake and Joan Jonas finds these celebrated artists forming a generative and collaborative new friendship. Facilitated by Danspace Project Executive Director & Chief Curator, Judy Hussie-Taylor, the two discuss the mutual influence of Japanese dance theater and literature on their work as they offer insight into making new work and connections in the maturity of their careers. Both artists have long histories of creating work that engages deeply with site and experiments with viewership; how the work is experienced and how the viewer experiences themselves within it—the performance or audience might be placed outside, observing from a long distance, or within a very small grouping—configurations of presentation that pose hopeful possibilities for future works in this unprecedented time of physical distance.
Included in this CWW
- PLATFORM 2016: A Body in Places curated by Judy Hussie-Taylor and Lydia Bell in collaboration with Eiko Otake (Danspace Project, 2016)
- The Juniper Tree by Joan Jonas (Danspace Project, 1977)
- Moving Off the Land II by Joan Jonas (Danspace Project premier, 2018)
- Nova Scotia Beach Dance (1971) and Delay Delay (1972) by Joan Jonas
- Event Fission (excerpt) by Eiko & Koma (1980, 50 min), produced by Creative Time, Hudson River Landfill, Art on The Beach series
- Song Delay (excerpt) by Joan Jonas (1973, 18:35 min, b&w, sound, 16 mm film on HD video)
- White Dance (1976) by Eiko & Koma
- Organic Honey’s Vertical Roll (excerpt) by Joan Jonas (1972, 15 min, b&w, sound)
- Mirror Piece I: Reconfigured (excerpt) by Joan Jonas (1969/2010), at Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
- Eiko with Octopus, Eiko with Convex Mirror, Eiko Fortune Teller by Joan Jonas and Eiko Otake
- The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky (1953), Vaslav Nijinsky
- The Letters of Vincent van Gogh (1914), Vincent van Gogh
- Kadensho (“The Book of Flower”), Zaemi Motokiyo
- Labyrinths, Selected Stories & Other Writings, Jorge Luis Borges (1962)
- The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (c. 978 – c. 1014)
- Koma Otake, Performance artist and collaborative partner to Eiko Otake
- Douglas Crimp (1944 – 2019), American Art Historian
- Pat Steir, American painter and printmaker
- Sam Miller (1952–2018), Leader in Arts Administrations and Arts Advocate, Co-Founder of ICPP at Wesleyan and former President of the Danspace Project Board
- Lydia Bell, Former Danspace Project Associate Curator, Program Director
- Zeami Motokiyo (c. 1363 – c. 1443), Japanese Noh playwright and philosopher
- Chikuha Otake (1878-1936), Japanese painter and Eiko Otake’s grandfather
- Kazuo Ohno, Japanese dancer and choreographer and a founder of Butoh dance theater
- Simone Forti, American Italian Postmodern dancer and choreographer
- Kabuki (Classical Japanese dance theatre)
- Noh (Classical Japanese dance theatre)
- Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, and more)
- New York, NY, US
- Berlin, Germany
- Nova Scotia, Canada
June 9. A funeral for Mr. Floyd is held today. I danced in my mother’s house. I moved thinking of you, mourning you.
6000 miles away from Minneapolis. I tried to make the distance malleable.
6700 miles away from Houston. I heard eulogies.
6780 miles away from New York, my home and friends. I heard your voices on the streets, loud and clear, despite the pandemic. I moved thinking of you.
(Excerpt from Thinking of You, Eiko Otake)
Looking at the past. Do things change?
We hear the voice of George Floyd
I hear the voices outside my window
We must change.
Love from Joan
(Excerpt from MoMA’s Performing at a Distance Project, Joan Jonas)