A Body in Places
photo by William Johnston

A Body in Places (2014-2017)

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 that shows 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 launches 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 continued this exploration in New York City's River to River Festival in June 2015, performing at Fulton Center.

At an opposite extreme, Eiko performs variations of the work in odd, unexpected places for very intimate audiences, as small as a single viewer. These mini performances (45 minutes long) will happen in non-theatrical spaces in daylight (or simple lights that seem to belong to the place), and offers 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 continues throughout the fall 2015 in Wesleyan University, which has a long history with Eiko & Koma. It is at Wesleyan where Eiko & Koma created many elements of their Retrospective Project (2009-2012). Wesleyan's Center for the Arts is again supporting Eiko in developing A Body in Places. CFA helped Eiko’s first photography trip to Fukushima in 2014 with photographer/ history professor William Johnston, and presented a three-gallery exhibition of A Body in Fukushima in the winter of 2015, during which Eiko also premiered A Body in a Library on campus. This year, the CFA is presenting Eiko in three different locations over  nine performances. Regarding Wesleyan as her precious "laboratory," Eiko not only shares her vision with the audience but also experiments and examines her ideas in preparation of the tours and New York season of A Body in Places.

iEiko also took her project to Hong Kong and Chile: places holding very layered memories.Eiko was featured at the Danspace Project's PLATFORM in the winter of 2016. Danspace's tenth PLATFORM (Feb-March 2016) will extend Eiko's current project A Body in Places. Over the four weeks, Danspace invited guest artists and audience members to engage with the "places" and "solitude of an artist."  Throughout the Platform, Eiko also 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.

Eiko Otake Short Bio
A Body in Places FAQ
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.