Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/117080/domains/eikoandkoma.org/html/includes/configure.php on line 34
Nora Thompson on Elegies | Eiko + Koma
Nora Thompson on <i>Elegies</i>
photo by Jean Cross

Nora Thompson on Elegies (November 2019)

Elegies by Eiko and John Killacky
So clear and stark and detailed in the cinematography, and so measured and intentional in what they say. It keeps my attention. The ringing of the bowl at the end feels right, like I was already meditating so of course there is some visual, auditory ritual to make it so.

We start with seeing the crystal clear faces of two people who have aged - I see wrinkles, time's evidence, and light in the eyes like wisdom. The black and white and the uncomplicated framing of each face makes me focus on the words, focus on the seriousness of the delivery. It is a little disarming to be looked at so directly by John and Eiko--am I his, her mom? But I also like being addressed this way. It brings me closer and makes intimate an aesthetic that could feel sterile or formal. I am so with them both. In each of the elegies, they convey uncertainty and nuance in the lines between living and dead, in feelings about passing. I love John's words, "seductive, dissolving, vagueness." Death is less clear than the black and white lines of the faces, but that uncertainty, vagueness, quietness is beautiful to me as it’s described. It's like how nothing can feel like everything. How dying can feel better than waiting. This ritual, with all its clarity, formalism, and clear intentions, honors something slippery and impossible to hold onto. It feels right in this way. We must be clear about dissolving.