Eiko Otake: A Body in Places

A Body in a Cemetery is a 15-min short film that documents a place-inspired solo performance by dancer/choreographer Eiko Otake in Green-Wood Cemetery, the U.S.’s second oldest cemetery in Brooklyn that holds 570,000 "permanent residents." Presented in September 2020 by Pioneer Works and Green-Wood Cemetery, this event was for many the first time attending a live performance since the pandemic shutdown.

M+ Museum presented A Body in Hong Kong in two locations as part of Mobile M+: Live Art, 2015. Tim Mei Avenue, where Eiko chose and performed, was the main site of 2014 Umbrella Revolution. Nearly 100,000 people camped out, and in doing so, stopped traffic on twelve-lane highways and created a politically charged sphere.

M+ Museum presented A Body in Hong Kong in two locations as part of Mobile M+: Live Art, 2015. The second site she chose and performed at on December 11 and 12, 2015 was the West Kowloon Cultural District, the site where the M+ Museum would be built. Eiko perhaps covered a longer distance in this performance than any other in the past. This raw landscape, rather unusual in Hong Kong, and its political tenderness play as a background of her performance. A Body in Hong Kong is part of Otake’s ongoing project, A Body in Places.

During February and March of 2016, Danspace Project presented Platform, a month long curated program for which Eiko's solo project, A Body in Places, was the focus. At the center of the Platform's dense programs were Eiko's daily solos. Eiko presented 21 performances of A Body in Places in different locations at different times of day and night. In A Body in the East Village, both the camera and the gaze of the audience members closely follow three of these intimate and spontaneous performances.

Eiko Otake, based in the United States since 1976, is a highly regarded artist who has performed in many countries as part of the performance duo Eiko & Koma. Her solo project A Body in Places has attracted much attention since it began in 2014, and she  performs it for the first time in Japan.

Eiko Otake performed a version of her solo project, A Body in Places, as a part of River To River Festival on Wall Street. A Body on Wall Street won “Best Use of Location” for Round 3 of Dare to Dance in Public (D2D) Film Festival in 2020.

Camera by Alexis Moh.
Conceived, performed, and edited by Eiko Otake.

This video shows the design and choreography of Eiko's three-channel installation on one screen. Each video was shot in California by Alexis Moh and Marjorie Hunt during a creative residency at UCLA in April 2019. 

In a gallery, three sequences are projected on three different adjacent walls or shown on three monitors separately. Eiko "choreographed" 17-min sequences of three videos, considering the overall dynamic and how they are aligned. This is a shortened version.

Documentation of Eiko performing in the installation space is available by request.

For the November 13, 2015 opening of the Hiroshima Panels by Iri and Toshi Maruki at Pioneer Works, Eiko performed her solo in honor of the Hiroshima Panels and their creators. Japanese-style painter Iri Maruki, born in Hiroshima, and Western-style painter Toshi Maruki, who went into Hiroshima city just three days after the bombing. The artists decided to paint the panels together, which illuminate the human experiences of the Atomic Bomb. They spent 30 years painting the fifteen Hiroshima Panels, six of which were on display at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Red, 2016

Eiko edited this video to illuminate, in fast pace, her solo performance project A Body in Places. The red cloth she often uses in her performance is used as a visual link between different places and communities where Eiko performed.

Eiko performed unannounced in the Cathedral of St. John Divine, New York City as an artist in residence in 2016-2018.

Camera by Alexis Moh.

Root, 2023

Filmed during a trip sponsored by UCLA CAPS in 2019.

Camera by Alexis Moh.
Edited by Eiko Otake.

Slow Turn, 2021

On September 11, 2021, Eiko Otake performed at 7am and 6pm at Belvedere Plaza in Battery Park City by the Hudson River, directly west of where the Twin Towers once stood. This video work is from the 6pm performance.