Sea (2017)

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Performed by Eiko Otake and DonChristian
Camera by Eiko Otake and DonChristian
Edit by Eiko Otake
Created during the 2017 Rauschenberg Residency for the Duet Project

One viewer states:

Eiko told me once (I wish I could remember when she said it to me, where, how) that much of her work with DonChristian during their time together at the Rauschenberg Residency was focused on “practicing to die.” It was an exercise they practiced together, and despite its morbid tone, it seems it was both useful and peaceful for them. In this creation of theirs, I see gentless and somberness, and even a smallest bit of resistance in moving in the water, in the image of the waves overtaking you and Don.

The images of the humans and the waves layer on top of themselves, suggesting Eiko is a ghost or a spirit, suggesting she is a mile-long spirit resting on the bottom of the ocean. We see Don’s feet, we look down at our own, and we inhabit him. Eiko is the teacher of death, and Don (and us) learn, readying ourselves for the inevitability. The ghost remembers how to die, the human learns. This narrative I impose doesn’t always fit. Eiko and Don wash into each other - a beautiful muddling of human and ghost, learner and teaching, being and being.

- Nora Thompson