When Eiko is working with me and Patsy, she can identify photos right away. When she’s out of town, however, and photos or contact sheets aren’t clearly marked, Patsy hands them over to me to figure out what they are. Sometimes I just need to identify the piece, which is pretty straightforward. Other times, Patsy will know which piece it is, but not the location of the performance, important information when we’re talking about Eiko & Koma’s site work.
Tom Brazil’s contact sheets in particular posed some puzzles for us. I know that Brazil only photographed their work in and around New York City, so figuring out that BP meant Offering in Bryant Park, or that EAS stood for Easton, PA, the city where Eiko & Koma premiered River in the Delaware River, wasn’t too hard. We were stymied, however, by a sheet labeled DitS showing shots from an outdoor piece in which Eiko & Koma were dancing in front of old brick buildings under a bridge with a wing painting from Cambodian Stories hanging from one wall. Given the painting, I knew the time frame had to be 2005-2007, but this wasn’t Cambodian Stories Revisited because Charian and Peace were not present. Still, I knew that it must be in New York somewhere, which led me to realize that DitS must stand for the presenter Dancing in the Streets. A quick consultation of the appendices to the excellent Walker Art Center catalog on Eiko & Koma, Time is Not Even, Space is Not Empty, revealed that Dancing in the Streets produced Eiko & Koma in 2005. But what piece was it?
I checked Dancing in the Streets’ website to see if they include a list of past performances; they do not. Patsy then Googled “Eiko Koma dancing streets 2005” and turned up an article on 2005’s “Breaking Ground: A Dance Charrette.” The Joanna Haigood-directed project commissioned five choreographers – Larry Keigwin, Tere O’Connor, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Ann Carlson, and Eiko & Koma – to make a dance at a location revealed to them less than a week before the performance date. The brick buildings in the photos turned out to be old tobacco warehouses in the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park in Brooklyn.
Archive mystery solved!
Read more about “Breaking Ground” here
postscript: Patsy discovered a program for Breaking Ground in the Flyers folders – Eiko & Koma’s piece was called “Walking.”