Distance is Malleable
video still from Death Valley: sand by Alexis Moh

Distance is Malleable

Eiko was the guest speaker at Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University's annual Soshitsu Sen XV Distinguished Lecture on Japanese Culture on May 10, 2019 at 6pm.

For her presentation titled Distance is Malleable,  Eiko shared her specific notions of body, choreography, performance, practice, politics, time, history, place, and teaching. She revealed how the many distances that make up her life and career have been malleable and at times even collapsible, both intentionally and otherwise--her distance from Japan where she grew up; from New York City and the U.S where she has lived since 1976; from the practices of American modern dance, her teachers, and collaborators; and from her long-time concerns with the languages and issues around nuclear matters. This malleability of distance examined by her self-curated immigrant body, that of a stranger in different places, has been the core of her concerns and work.

The event began with Eiko performing a solo in the lobby and on the street, in which she passed out a handout that spelled out the contents of her presentation in the form of poetic notes. She continued her performance into the theater space where the handouts fell from the second floor balcony onto the main floor audience seats. After the remarks by Donald Keene Center's director Michael Como and Professor of Anthropology Marilyn Ivy, Eiko presented her lecture, which frequently included some movement along with a video that she edited.

Handout: Body and Distance

Review by Eva Yaa Asantewaa