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Eiko Otake: A Body in Places—The Met Edition

Eiko Otake: A Body in Places—The Met Edition


Eiko Otake


The Met
New York, NY


Sunday, November 5, 2017 - 10:30am weekly through November 19, 2017



Eiko Otake

Eiko Otake: A Body in Places—The Met Edition
Durational performance installation
Co-presented by Met Live Arts and Performa '17 Biennial


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5 | 10:30am – 4:45pm | The Met Cloisters
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12 | 10:30am – 5:15pm | The Met Breuer
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19 | 10:30am – 5:15pm | The Met Fifth Avenue
More details.
How do I make a museum an odd place? How can I disrupt the museum-ness? How can I leave a stain onto The Met architecture? What kind of process and preparation will make me feel that my performances at The Met are necessary and urgent?

These are the questions that came up when I received an invitation from The Met and Performa 17, Performa's 2017 Biennial focusing on the theme of architecture.

Some answers to these questions came from returning to Fukushima this past summer, my fifth trip after the nuclear meltdowns. My solo project was first inspired by travelling to Fukushima, and it continues to be contextualized with subsequent visits to the irradiated landscape. Remembering a disaster takes effort especially when we watch other disasters occur almost weekly. Making that effort visible and tangible in The Met would make its architecture realistically relative.

I imagine digging a hole through the earth to connect each performance site with Fukushima. Audiences see, among the bodies of the other viewers, my immigrant body carrying Fukushima tucked inside it.

For The Met performances, I am creating a video that will run throughout the museum's open hours without looping. The video will consist of thousands of still photographs taken by William Johnston during our visits to Fukushima from 2014-2017. I am choreographing these images and am adding texts and sound.
Why, instead of performing for an hour, am I to create a durational work that perhaps no one will see in its entirety? Because I want a viewer to enter and leave the space knowing that images from Fukushima occupy the museum for a full day. Projected images of Fukushima will highlight and reveal the museum's architecture: its walls, columns and surfaces as well as the spaces between them. By performing and projecting for the maximum amount of time allowed to me, my body and video will metaphorically “stain” the museum walls, making them absorb as much of Fukushima as possible.

At times I will push the projector cart so that the image moves and fractures among the architectural features of the gallery. I will let my body enter into the projected scene. I will also resist the expected relationship, and sabotage.

— Eiko



Photos by William Johnston: Ukedo Beach, Fukushima, Japan June 27, 2017

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