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About Our Work | Eiko + Koma
About Our Work
photo by Anna Lee Campbell

About Our Work (2010)

What we care to do through artistic expression is to share with people our desire to affirm life in the context of the flow of time. This is an ongoing desire from our past works such as Land, Wind and River. Our lives are one point in time, time that extends as an enormous distance to the past and to the future, much as a river extends from upstream to downstream. The "scenery" people see at a given moment is part of the flow, and so is everybody's life. Koma and I want to help all, including ourselves, to remember that both technological advances and the consequent arrogance of people are but recent products of human history. Once people are willing to see beyond the time span of history textbooks or church teachings or of their own life, they can identify the place they have in common with other people and other beings. Humans were once embryos and so was every thing on the earth and beyond. Koma and I want our audience members to activate their imagination biologically and artistically and see that there is a design, a cycle of which each of our lives is a part.

Rather than having our work take the form of a futuristic or apocalyptic warning, Koma and I want to present archaic landscapes. We want audiences to see a pristine landscape eons older than the one we all occupy, and in which we humans can rediscover our essential selves. Once actively imagined and kinetically felt by performers and audience alike, our unconscious memory brings forth elemental emotions. A coy resemblance to a "primitive" scene in some Natural History Museum does not produce the empathy Koma and I want to deliver. Artists and audiences should acknowledge emphatically that, until very recently, children often died young, and survival was fearful and humbling for all. Throughout the overwhelming part of our common history, to live has been to see others die and to anticipate our own death close by. This still remains so in many regions of the world. While people should of course work to lessen the suffering of others, we should not mask every pain as though it were a blemish to be disguised or swept away quickly. Our pain is as much a part of our nobility as are our love and joy. It is simply one of our truths.