A Body in a Library: Eiko Otake at the Toronto Reference Library

March 5, 2019 | TRL ARTS

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The Toronto Reference Library is very pleased to host a free performance by world renowned movement-based artist Eiko Otake. Eiko has been performing solo and as part of Eiko & Koma since 1972. Eiko has been a recipient of Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowships, two “Bessie’s” and has been commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Live Arts and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Learn more about Eiko's accomplishments.

Eiko Otake’s a Body in a Place Project

On Friday March 15 at 5:15pm, Eiko will perform another iteration of A Body in a Library  in the atrium of the Toronto Reference Library

Body in fukushima
Movement-based artist Eiko Otake, photographed by William Johnston, 2017.

"In all of her performances as a part of A Body in Places Eiko uses her body to make distance malleable, collapsing space and bringing the urgency of nuclear matters into ordinary places. This performance in a library will be one of many that have occurred on her tours and visits to universities over the past several years. The performance will be immediately followed by a Q&A. No registration is required." (from: www.eikoandkoma.org)

Sakamoto William Johnston 2014_resized 25
Movement-based artist Eiko Otake, photographed by William Johnston, 2014.

Along with Eiko’s performance, the Toronto Reference Library will hosting other formats of the Body in Places project which includes an ongoing photographic exhibit titled A Body in Fukushima.

"A Body in Fukushima, a series of photographs, is the collaborative work between Eiko Otake and Japanese historian and photographer William Johnston of Wesleyan University. These images chronicle Eiko and photographer William Johnston's multiple visits to irradiated Fukushima, the area devastated by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns of 2011." (from: www.eikoandkoma.org)

Johnston’s photography and a video installation will be on display on the 3rd and 5th floors of the Toronto Reference Library from March 4th to April 14th as well as at Robarts Library and Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library at the University of Toronto.

Maebara Radioactive Dump photograph by William Johnston 2014
Maebara Radioactive Dump, photographed by William Johnston, 2014.
Shinmaiko photograph by William Johnston
Movement-based artist Eiko Otake, photographed by William Johnston, 2014.


Free Screening and Symposium

Along with the exhibits and performance the public is invited to attend a free screening and symposium at Innis Town Hall on Saturday, March 16th. Registration is required. All are welcome.

Some articles about Eiko Otake

From the New York Times:
Eiko: A Dancer’s Urgent Body in a Sacred Space
Eiko Steps Away From One Dance Partner, to Take on Many More

From American Libraries:
Eiko Otake at Russell Library: “A Body in a Library”

From Japan Times:
Performance artist Eiko Otake is a stranger in New York

From Indy Weekly:
In A Body in Fukushima, dancer Eiko and photographer William Johnston measure the fallout of trust in technology

Videos, Books and other useful Resources

The Atomic Photographers Guild
"The Atomic Photographers Guild (APG) is an international collective of artists dedicated to making visible all facets of the nuclear age. Created in 1987 by Robert Del Tredici, with founding members Carole Gallagher and Harris Fogel, the APG documents the history, impact and ongoing legacy of the atomic age – emphasizing nuclear weapons mass-production, atomic testing and proliferation, nuclear power, reactor accidents, radioactive waste containment, irradiated landscapes, and radiation affected populations." (from the APG website)


Eiko and Koma/Land   (1995).
Performers/Contributors: Otake, Eiko; Otake, Takashi Koma; Rosenberg, Douglas.


Eiko & Koma : Time is Not Even, Space is Not Empty  2011. (Available only at the Toronto Reference Library).
Contributors: Rothfuss, Joan.
Eikoandkoma time is not even
"Operating at the intersections of dance, art and performance for nearly 40 years, acclaimed Japanese movement/performance artists Eiko & Koma have built up an enormously influential body of movement-theater productions, including theatrically staged performances, site works, dance videos, gallery-based performance installations and collaborations with leading music, dance and visual artists. Time Is Not Even, Space Is Not Empty presents a complete, illustrated catalogue of their dance works, alongside editor's and choreographer's notes, reprints of primary source and other archival material, and a series of newly commissioned written responses by Anna Halprin, Dean Otto, Sam Miller, Peter Taub and others."

Fukushima : the story of a nuclear disaster,2014.
Lochbaum, David A. 
Fukushima the story of a nuclear disaster
"On March 11, 2011, an earthquake large enough to knock the earth from its axis sent a massive tsunami speeding toward the Japanese coast and the aging and vulnerable Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power reactors. Over the following weeks, the world watched in horror as a natural disaster became a man-made catastrophe: fail-safes failed, cooling systems shut down, nuclear rods melted."

Also available as an eBook.

Fukushima: Impacts and Implications, 2013.
Elliott, David
Fukushima impacts and implications 
"The Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011 led Japan, and many other countries, to change their energy policies. David Elliott reviews the disaster and its global implications, asking whether, despite continued backing by some governments, the growing opposition to nuclear power means the end of the global nuclear renaissance."

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster, 2019.
Higginbotham, Adam
Midnight in chernobyl
Draws on twenty years of research, recently declassified files, and interviews with survivors in an account of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster that also reveals how propaganda and secrets have created additional dangers.

No Immediate Danger, 2018.
Vollmann, William T.
No immediate danger
The first volume in a timely series about climate change and energy generation focuses on the consequences of nuclear-power production through the events and aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.