The Duet Project
photo by DonChristian

The Duet Project (2017-)

Over the next two 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 the presenter’s own communities.

Each collaboration develops will develop in unexpected yet specific ways, but Eiko intends to investigate the following questions: how two individuals can encounter and converse over their differences with or without words; how each of us experience, view, survive. and remember different disasters; and how can we express both explicitly and implicitly what each of us really care 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, which will premiere at the 2019 American Dance Festival. Eiko will also work closely with presenters and curators seeking advice about the performance sites and potential encounters that are specific to a community she visits. 

The list of possible participating artists includes DonChristian Jones, Alexis Moh, Mark McCloughan, Sarah Skaggs, Marian Soto, Ishmael Houston Jones, Liz Lerman, William Johnston, David Brick, and Chitra Vairavan but 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. Participating artists will be different in 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.