The Duet Project
photo by DonChristian of Eiko and Marian Soto

The Duet Project (2017-)

Over the next three years Eiko will explore various ways to perform duets with collaborating artists of varied backgrounds and practices. Not every participating artist will tour with Eiko or be seen live by audiences, but the creative process will be partly visible to the public, and interdisciplinary collaborations will result in videos, installations, and other material that will  contextualize the project.

In-progress showings and conversations have typically been and will continue to be a part of week-long sessions occurring during one of Eiko’s scheduled creative residencies at Wesleyan University, St. John the Divine, the Rauschenberg Foundation in Florida (5 weeks), Cassilhaus in North Carolina, and/or in presenters’ own communities.

Each collaboration will develop in unexpected yet specific ways as Eiko intends to investigate the following questions: How can two individuals encounter and converse over their differences with or without words? How can each of us experience, view, survive and remember different disasters? And how can we express both explicitly and implicitly what each of us really cares about?

Each specific collaborative process will inform the direction, content, and shape of each public presentation; but the end result, available during June 1, 2019 – November 30, 2020 will be a durational, mutable, interdisciplinary program of duets designed for non-theatrical spaces, scheduled to premiere at the 2019 American Dance Festival. Eiko will also work closely with presenters and curators to seek advice about performance sites and potential encounters that are specific to their own communities.

The list of possible participating artists includes DonChristian Jones, Alexis Moh, Mark McCloughan, Sarah Skaggs, Merián Soto, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Liz Lerman, William Johnston, David Brick, and Chitra Vairavan. Eiko intends to keep the list flexible so as to allow new encounters and ideas to enter the project.

Some collaborating artists might be poets, musicians or visual artists. Participants will be of different colors, ages, cultures, languages, professional and artistic fields, ways of life, and training. And some have passed, such as poet C.D. Wright and Chikuha Otake, Eiko’s grandfather, who was a painter. Thus, some duets will be virtual. Mathematically, 2-1=1, but in Eiko’s concept it is still a duet. Conversely, when two living artists work together it is in some way a preparation for the time when one of the two inevitably dies and becomes a memory of the other.