Like a River,  Time is Naked
photo by Eiko

Like a River, Time is Naked (2009)

Presented as a part of 24 Hour program on the Concept of Time at the Guggenheim Museum, New York City
Jan 7, 2009
Eiko Otake


Space on stage is brushed by time


A work starts at the beginning and moves to the end
A dancer resists that flow
    She wishes to create, in and near her body, a small pocket of time that lingers

A dancer remembers a tree that had been there,
    before a theater was built
Her arm moves to invite the return of the forest

Someone told her
This world started and will end without people
    Her body on stage knows that


A dancer is naked


Time is never alone


We are often careless of time,
    careless of everything

When a person feels now or feels anything,
she is breathing the present
    That now is never alone

A person is never alone when she feels time

She recognizes she is with someone,
    a friend, a mountain, or wind

Even if it is her own eyes looking at her body,
    She is not alone


Times is comforting


Time is full of the past as it is full of the present

This present now includes the now of many people

    They remember

This present now includes a premonition of the future
It is often the young or the weak
    who senses the wind

When we breathe, we smell the wounds and laughter
    of different places, of different times


Time moves,

                            which way?


In the chronology of an aging body, time flows forward
    a baby grows, and she will surely die

But mind you,
A death and future are approaching
    What looked so far appears dangerously near

A moment later, now is already past

Future dreams are realized and are shattered

    Death, too, will be swallowed in the past


The memories of the dead are tangible as the bodies of the living

    Mourners resist the flow of time

    Memories resist forgetfulness


Space is not empty
    Space is filled with the non-existence of the dead
Their memories are lost when their friends die
    Yet, the shadows of their memories remain in the air
                                                                    a little longer


Time is grotesque

A certain time and a certain place is an intersection of many lives
    often costing many lives

An atomic bombing is an enormous implosion in time
    Everything before, progressions, achievements, desires, gets sucked in

    everything spit out is wounded

The world has become and remains a different place
Many dead bodies float in the black river

    What do the dead people want from us?

Perhaps with them,
We can remember the time before we were born
    The black river that had no color

An embryo grows remembering her wings and fins
    She does not yet know what she is to become

    Time nourishes its ancient memory

Time is a River


Time is immense and alive.


Like a river,
    time suspends,
          flows,
          hesitates,
          gets stuck,
          accelerates …


Like a river,
      time is not even, quiet, or patient

      time hurts


Like a river,

    Time may be contaminated

    When upstream swallows poison, downstream gets polluted


Like a river,

    Time is fragile

    Time may heal its wounds and cleanse its pollutants


Like a river,
    Time is far longer than we can remember


A river has been flowing before I was born

    It will continue to flow after I die

    A river brings her in,
    A river brings her out

At the end of a person’s life,
    The river of time swallows her body,
                                                her mind,
                                                and her memories

    What will become of her learning, her knowledge?


Time swallows time


Like a river

    time is naked

I dance to linger in that nakedness