Eiko Otake: Media Work

This is the fourth work of Eiko's 2020 Wesleyan Virtual Creative Residency and a collaboration with William Johnston. After seeing Room and Visit, Bill (another collaborator of Eiko at the 2017 Rauschenberg Residency) sent her photographs taken in the same space.

Photographs by William Johnston
Video and sound edit by Eiko Otake
Soundscape created in collaboration between Eiko Otake and David Harrington (violin).

Attending, 2018

In collaboration with Iris McCloughan.

A Body in Fukushima is a film created by dance artist Eiko Otake consisting of still photographs, inter-titles, and an original score. Photographs are selected from tens of thousands taken by historian/photographer William Johnston of Otake alone in the surreal landscapes of post-nuclear meltdown Fukushima, Japan. Otake edited the film and sound, which includes original music by Kronos Quartet’s David Harrington.

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.

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.

Eiko Otake, with her collaborator Merian Soto, visited a friend Bonnie Brooks in her country house and had a long walk in the forest. There was a small island occupied by three deers. They later returned to it and the deer were gone so Eiko danced in that place she named Deer Island.

Eiko's grandfather Chikuha Otake (1878–1936) was a praised figure in traditional Japanese painting. But his anti-mainstream sentiments were shunned by the field authorities. His reputation was severely damaged by his failed run for the House of Representatives. Filmed in 2018, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Suiboku Museum in Toyama, Japan, Eiko's edit combines videos of Chikuha's paintings and Eiko's performance with quotes from his essays and Eiko's musings.

Special thank you to David Brick, Ryohei Endo, Hiroyuku Horikawa, Feliece Fischer, and John Killacky.

Elegies, 2019

John Killacky is Eiko's long time friend. It was in July 2018 when both of them were attending the tree planting ceremony of their mutual friend Sam Miller at the Jacob's Pillow that Eiko invited John to join her Duet Project. John proposed to create a video work that they both speak to their dead mothers.

After exchanging their writings, the video was shot and edited by Brian Stevenson in the studios of Vermont PBS on November 22, 2019.
Special thanks to Larry Connolly.

Developed in collaboration with and performed by DonChristian Jones.

The footage was filmed by Eiko during the Rauschenberg Foundation Residency in Captiva, FL in November 2017. Eiko edited the footage in Japan during her 2020 Virtual Creative Residency hosted by Wesleyan University. After editing, Eiko realized this is the first media work she created without her body.

Directed by Eiko Otake as a part of The Duet Project: Distance is Malleable.

Eiko Otake’s I Invited Myself is a multi-volume installation which features choreography of place, movements of both performer and viewers, along with projections of selected video and film works created by Eiko over the last 40 years.

Unlike audiences to cinema, literature, music, and visual art works, the audience to contemporary performance work often experiences one newly created evening-length piece. Those audiences who saw the artist’s earlier works have an understanding of her trajectory, but younger or new audiences might not.  

Mirrors, 2023

In collaboration with Patricia Herminjard Smith.

This video was filmed during a dress rehearsal of Eiko's performance Shedding on February 8, 2023. This scene is the last section of a longer performance work commissioned by UCLA in which Eiko explored new ways to work with a full-length video she created.

Filmed by Patricia Herminjard Smith.
Edited by Eiko Otake.

In collaboration with Rebekkah Palov. 

This video was created during a residency at IEA (Institute for Electronic Arts) at Alfred University in June 2019. It was shown in a multi-channel video installation at IEA. This footage was edited for Eiko’s installation Mother at the Historic Chapel at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY in 2023. In Mother, Eiko talks and dance with her mother, who died in 2019. The film was played on loop, along with a visual installation, daily from 10AM–5PM.

Camera by Rebekkah Palov.

Collaboration with Joseph Scheer (print making artist specializing in moths) and Rebekkah Palov.
Choreography and editing by Eiko Otake, assisted by Rebekkah Palov.
Eiko is deeply grateful to Institute for Electronic Arts, Alfred University.

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.

Room, 2020

In collaboration with DonChristian Jones.

Room was produced during 2020 virtual creative residency of Eiko Otake supported by the Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.

Camera by DonChristian Jones.
Filmed during the Rauschenberg Residency Captiva, FL in November 2017.
Edited by Eiko Otake.


Seagulls, 2021

Eiko's first piece without a human.

"Choreography in edit. We humans tend to see some sort of humanness in seeing other species. and that might be human. The aggression and agitation might be in all species in their survival but we might see it as our own nature or what we are particularly dealing with today's world. But there is always beauty and moral in sheer survival."

– Eiko Otake

Camera, sound, and editing by Eiko.

Soak, 2017

The first video work created collaboratively with DonChristian Jones as a part of Eiko's The Duet Project: Distance is Malleable. The video was projected as part of The Value of Sanctuary: Building a House Without Walls exhibition at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in 2019.

Performed by Eiko Otake and DonChristian.
Camera by DonChristian Jones, Inci Eviner, Merián Soto.
Edited by Eiko Otake.
Created during the 2017 Rauschenberg Residency for The Duet Project.

Commissioned by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) for the occasion of Eiko receiving the Sam Miller Performing Arts Award. Premiered at LMCC’s A Toast to Downtown on December 9, 2020. Shot at LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island.

Performer Eiko Otake.
Director/Editor Liz Sargent.
DP Minos Papas.
Production by Cyprian Films, New York.

Visit, 2017

A collaboration with DonChristian Jones.
Filmed during the Rauschenberg Foundation Residency November 2017.

On April 30, 2019, Eiko and Alexis Moh, one of Eiko's collaborators in The Duet Project, visited the Manzanar Historical Site. Manzanar was one of ten American internment camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during the World War II. At the peak (in September 1942), 10,046 Japanese Americans were forced to live in Manzanar.

This video was shot two days after Manzanar Pilgrimage commemorated its 50th anniversary on site.

White, 2023

Filmed by Jingqiu Guan on November 7, 2022 at Royce Hall Rehearsal Room during the creative residency sponsored by UCLA Center for the Art of Performance (CAP). This video was used for the performance on November 20, 2022 at UCLA.

Performed by Eiko Otake
Edited by Eiko Otake, assisted by Jingqiu Guan

This is an edited excerpt of Eiko and Iris McCloughan's experiment working over Zoom on May 5, 2020 as a part of Eiko's Virtual Creative Residency hosted by Wesleyan University. 

Iris is both a dramaturg and a collaborator in Eiko's The Duet Project: Distance is Malleable. Iris is in their studio in Brooklyn, New York and Eiko is in a suburb of Tokyo, Japan, 6761 miles away. Both are restricted under the emergency order due to the coronavirus pandemic.