Events – Danspace Project
Eiko Otake and Joan Jonas. Courtesy Eiko Otake.

LIVESTREAM: Conversations Without Walls: Joan Jonas & Eiko Otake

This conversation now lives permanently on our journal. WATCH HERE

 

Moderated by Judy Hussie-Taylor

The foundation of this conversation between Eiko Otake and Joan Jonas finds these celebrated artists forming a generative and collaborative new friendship. The two discuss the mutual influence of Japanese theater, dance, 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.

Initiated in 2011 by Judy Hussie-Taylor and Jenn Joy, Conversations Without Walls (CWW) are long-form, Saturday afternoon, roundtable discussions that provide context and insight into the work of Danspace Project’s artists and Platforms. The nearly decade-long series facilitates intergenerational conversations between writers, scholars, choreographers, and audiences. In this time when our physical doors remain closed and in person gathering is limited we are reimagining the CWW series as a digital program. Each episode of the CWW digital series will be broadcast live on YouTube and ultimately archived for the public on the Danspace Project online Journal.

More about the Conversations Without Walls series


This conversation was recorded in May 2020, but only days after the program was slated to launch, George Floyd died at the hands of police in Minneapolis. Danspace Project postponed the release of this pre-recorded conversation to prioritize urgent action in direct response to the Black Lives Matter movement and to address issues of equity and anti-racism within the organization. This work continues and informs.

Since this conversation, both artists have been reflecting on the continuing pandemic and the movement for Black lives. Read some of their offerings here:

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)
https://www.eikootake.org/virtual-studio-thinking-of-you

Looking at the past. Do things change?
We hear the voice of George Floyd
I hear the voices outside my window
In protest.

We must change.

Love from Joan

(Excerpt from MoMA’s Performing at a Distance Project, Joan Jonas)
https://www.moma.org/magazine/articles/364

 

Joan Jonas is a world-renowned artist whose work encompasses a wide range of media including video, performance, installation, sound, text, and sculpture. Joan’s experiments and productions in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s continue to be crucial to the development of many contemporary art genres, from performance and video to conceptual art and theatre. Since 1968, her practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of rituals, and the authority of objects and gestures. Joan has exhibited, screened, and performed her work at museums, galleries, and in large scale group exhibitions throughout the world. She has recently presented solo exhibitions at Hangar Bicocca, Milan; NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; the United States Pavilion for the 56th edition of the Venice Biennial; Tate Modern, London; TBA21 Ocean Space at the San Lorenzo Church, Venice; and Serralves Museum, Porto. In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Kyoto Prize, presented to those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of mankind.

 

Raised in Japan and a resident of New York since 1976, Eiko Otake is a movement–based, interdisciplinary artist. She worked for more than 40 years as Eiko & Koma, but since 2014 has been working on her own projects. Eiko & Koma created numerous performance works, exhibitions, durational “living” installations, and media works commissioned by institutions such as American Dance Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, and MoMA. Eiko has performed her solo project, A Body in Places, at over 40 sites including a month-long Danspace Project Platform (2016) and three full-day performances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2017). Currently, Eiko is directing her multi-year Duet Project and Virtual Creative Residency at Wesleyan University. Eikootake.org 

Image from Samita Sinha’s “Voice as Matter” workshop at Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City. She and a student are lying on the ground in a moment of vocal work.
Photo: Daniela Martinez and Alejandro Arce.

Samita Sinha: Breathing Room

Open to all levels!

Wednesday, September 23, 10am-1pm ET (guest facilitator: Julia Ulehla) – Sign up here
Wednesday, October 21, 10am-1pm ET (guest facilitator: TBA) – Sign up here
Wednesday, November 18, 10am-1pm ET (guest facilitator: Okwui Okpokwasili Sign up here
Wednesday, December 16, 10am-1pm ET (guest facilitator: Cesar Alvarez) – Sign up here

A link will be sent to registrants in advance of each session.

Admission: Sliding scale of $0-$20 per session. Participants are invited to choose what to pay based on your circumstances. We ask that you be honest with yourself and your financial situation. You are welcome to attend for FREE if that makes the most sense for you.

The series will offer an accumulation of tools, knowledge, and pathways, however there is no requirement to attend all sessions.

Breathing Room is a virtual space to reclaim life force. To open channels through voice and body. To come together, and be apart. To feel. To sense. To listen. To listen deeper, to be heard.  To be naked. To be complicated. To be fragile. To rebel. To be sacred.”  -Samita Sinha

In this series, artist and composer, Samita Sinha, will lead participants in vocal practice, followed by in-depth conversations with guest artists and participants. Sinha will teach energy threads, or miniature compositions, adapted from Indian vocal traditions. There will be space to work in shared solitude, as well as to sound together. “Embracing the medium of technology, we will play with making vibration-formations of our collective body through the process of listening and sounding,” writes Sinha.

Each month Sinha will be joined by a guest artist who will help facilitate reflection and conversation following the sonic travels. Guests include vocalist/composer, Julia Ulehla, artist/performer, Okwui Okpokwasili, and composer/performer, Cesar Alvarez.

Samita Sinha investigates origins of voice: quantum entanglement of listening and sounding, how voice emerges from body and consciousness, and how voice is claimed and rescued from voicelessness. She synthesizes Indian vocal traditions (Hindustani classical music and Bengali Baul tradition) and embodied energetic practices to create a decolonized, bodily, multivalent language of vibration and transformation.



Accessibility:
Please email seta@danspaceproject.org to request CART live captioning or any other access requests. Requests should be submitted by September 21 or at least three weeks ahead of any one session.

Artist and composer Samita Sinha investigates origins of voice: quantum entanglement of listening and sounding, how voice emerges from body and consciousness, and how voice is claimed and rescued from voicelessness. She synthesizes training in Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, Bengali Baul tradition, and embodied energetic practices to create a decolonized, bodily, multivalent language of vibration and transformation. 

Sinha’s sound and performance works have been commissioned by Asia Society, Performance Space 122 and Invisible Dog Art Center, Danspace, Rubin Museum, Queens Museum, and Gibney Dance, and presented by The Kitchen, Wexner Center for the Arts, REDCAT, PICA, National Sawdust and others. She has received awards from National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright Foundation, National Performance Network, New York State Council on the Arts and the Ucross/Alpert Residency Prize, and collaborated across disciplines with artists including Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born, Ralph Lemon, Sunny Jain and Grey Mcmurray, Fiona Templeton, Daria Fain, Julia Ulehla, Robert Ashley, Dani Restack, Sunil Bald, and Aki Onda. Sinha teaches voice through many channels—in addition to private lessons and workshops, she has in recent years taught at Princeton University, Swarthmore College, Movement Research, Rubin Museum, Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART) in Mexico City, and New York Asian Women’s Center.

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