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A Body in Places | Eiko + Koma
A Body in Places
photo by William Johnston

A Body in Places (2014-)

A Body in Places is the omnibus title of Eiko’s first solo project. Its scale and modes of presentation vary radically and incorporate both performative and non-performative elements, including  the photo exhibition A Body in Fukushima and film A Body in Fukushima. Both show photographs by William Johnston of Eiko in radiation-effected Fukushima.

Central to the project is a drive to explore non-traditional venues and to respond to the innate characteristics of each specific place.  At the core of each variant is Eiko alone on a colorful futon, projecting and exploring solitude, gaze, fragility and intimacy.  In Eiko & Koma’s performances, two bodies represent drama even when the other was absent. A Body in Places does not offer such drama. Performing as a soloist, Eiko willfully partners with the particularities of places and viewers.

In October 2014, under the aegis of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and with support of the University of Arts, Eiko launched A Body in Places project with photo exhibition A Body in Fukushima at PAFA museum gallery (October 3, 2014 through April 5, 2015) and her performances A Body in a Station in the large waiting rooms of Amtrak’s 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. The durational performances, each three hours, ran at shifting times on four consecutive Fridays. These station performances began Eiko's exploration of how the fragility of the body within public places mutually affects and is affected by the gaze of passers by. What occurs at the intersection of a forlorn figure encountered where it is not expected and the viewers who happen upon it? Radio interview on WHYY “NEWSWEEK TONIGHT”

Eiko has continued this exploration by performing in many public sites such as New York City's Fulton Center and Wall Street, both parts of River To River Festival presented by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. On tour, Eiko also performs at public libraries, farmers' markets, galleries, and plazas.

At an opposite extreme, Eiko performs variations of the work in odd, unexpected places for very intimate audiences, as small as fifteen viewers. These mini performances (approximately 45 minutes long) happen in non-theatrical spaces in daylight (or simple lights that seem to belong to the place), and offer a strange and intense experience that invites, almost forces, the viewer's gaze to engage the performer's gaze. In this intimate format, the conversation that follows a performance becomes an integral part of the experience for audience and artist alike.

This experiment started with Eiko's engagement at the American Dance Festival (July 5-12, 2015) and continued throughout the fall 2015 in Wesleyan University where Eiko performed in four different locations.

Eiko also took her project to Hong Kong and Chile: places holding very layered memories. Eiko was featured at the Danspace Project's tenth PLATFORM in the winter of 2016 (Feb-March 2016). Over the four weeks, Eiko performed a solo in radically intimate places, both on-site at St Mark's Church and off site at multiple locations in the East Village in addition to curating and presenting many activities such as book club, film series, Talking Duets, dialogues, installations and an exhibition, all of which richly contextualized her solo project.

A Body in Places FAQ
Performance Excerpts Videos
Performance Sites
Body Politics: EIko interview on Guernica by Jill Tan

Press Photos:
A Body in Fukushima,
A Body in Places 
A Body in a Library

The creation of A Body in Places has been supported by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program, by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, and by the National Endowment for the Arts. Eiko’s work in Philadelphia has been made possible by a Challenge Grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Eiko is a Doris Duke Performing Artist Fellow.