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Eiko's Duet Project | Eiko + Koma
Eiko's Duet Project
Photo by Ron Janssen

Eiko's Duet Project

The Duet Project is an interdisciplinary, intergenerational series of duets between Eiko and a diverse group of collaborating artists, living and dead. In recognizing that difference is an engine of inquiry, Eiko works with artists from varied backgrounds and practices to create performances, videos, and installations that investigate how two artists collide, converse, and express explicitly and implicitly what they care about.

Collaborating artists include poets, musicians, performers, and visual artists of different colors, ages, cultures, languages, professional and artistic fields, ways of life, and training. The list of participating artists so far includes: David Brick (choreographer); DonChristian Jones (musician, visual artist); Ishmael Houston-Jones (choreographer, performer, curator, arts activist);  William Johnston (photographer, historian); John Killacky (video artist, art administrator, and Democratic candidate for Vermont House); Liz Lerman (Choreographer,writer, and speaker); Mark McCloughan (dramaturg, poet, performer); Beverly McIver (painter); Alexis Moh (filmmaker); Margaret Leng Tan (pianist); Sarah Skaggs, Merián Soto and Chitra Vairavan (dancer/choreographers).

When two living artists work together it is a celebration of living and a preparation for the time when one of the two inevitably dies and becomes a memory of the other. In understanding this constant tension, Eiko will also work with artists who have passed away: poet CD Wright (1949-2016); Japanese writer Kyoko Hayashi (1930-2017), whose work Eiko translated; painter Chikuha Otake (1878-1936), her grandfather; and Sam Miller (1952-2018), poet, curator, and producer. In making duets with the deceased, Eiko investigates how we communicate with the dead and can be guided by memory, especially with those who inspired and helped conceive The Duet Project in its first iterations.

In-progress showings and conversations have occurred during Eiko’s creative residencies at Wesleyan University in CT; the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC; the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation on Captiva Island, FL (November 2017); Cassilhaus in North Carolina (July 2018); Temple University (March 2019); Columbia University's Lenfest Center (March 2019); and various other presenter locations. The end result will be a durational, mutable, interdisciplinary program of duets designed for non-theatrical spaces, scheduled to premiere at the 2019 American Dance Festival in Durham, NC. Eiko will also work closely with presenters and curators to seek advice about performance sites and potential encounters specific to their communities.

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