Otake embarked on A Body in Places at Philadelphia’s Amtrak 30th Street Station with A Body in a Station in 2014.  A year later, she performed it again at the Fulton Street subway station in lower Manhattan. For our Mobile M+: Live Art commission, A Body in Hong Kong, Otake will continue her exploration of public environments and the people who inhabit them. She will perform outdoors multiple times throughout the city, in each instance responding to the unique characteristics of Hong Kong. With these performances across the globe, Otake investigates the use of her body as a conduit to bridge together disparate locations.

Her video works A Body in Fukushima: Winter 2014 and A Body in Fukushima: Summer 2014, also from the same project, are showing in our exhibition at Connecting Space, complementing the live performances. The video is an ongoing collaboration with photographer William Johnston and is comprised of a slideshow of photographs. In 2014, they twice visited the desolate and contaminated landscape near Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants. Among the abandoned train tracks and damaged neighbourhoods, Johnston photographed Otake’s response to the disaster and devastation.  Her mourning, anguish, and grief are captured through each movement, each gesture in the haunting images. 

Eiko Otake (Japanese/American,  born 1952)

Eiko Otake is one half of artist duo Eiko and Koma, a collaborative pair of choreographers/dancers active since the early 1970s. Born to a family of writers, artists, and intellectuals, Otake came of age in Tokyo during the turbulent 1960s, an era of growing prosperity and occasional violent student protests. She met Koma, her partner in life and work, at this time, and they have been working together for more than four decades, mostly in the United States. Known for their exceedingly slow yet controlled, tense, and exquisite movements, Eiko and Koma are often cited as two of the world’s most important movement artists working today. Also a scholar of post-war Japanese literature, in particular the so-called A-bomb literature genre, Otake has over the last few years taken a deep interest in documenting episodes and spaces of trauma and disaster. Her recent solo works have centred on the nuclear catastrophe in FukushimaJapan. In 1996, Eiko and Koma received a MacArthur Fellowship.

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