Working with Watching: Eiko & Koma
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Working with Watching: Eiko & Koma

The environment is dim and humid. Short bursts of water periodically escape from above. Light dims and recovers, marking time. Eiko and Koma are lying naked and mostly still. Their painted, muddied bodies intertwine with the stuff of their environment. Amid feathers, crumbled leaves and twigs what I see feels at once post apocalyptic and brand new. They could be infants, aliens, animals or the elderly. The important thing is that they conjure all of these and more.

This “living installation”, Naked, wants to be worked with. It wants to be witnessed, often. It wants to be contemplated, thought about, meditated upon.

I felt a sort of nakedness of my own as I sat in the darkened chamber installed within the glaring white of the Walker’s Gallery 2. My thoughts somehow amplified as I sat shifting. Was I sitting correctly? Was it okay to stare? Was my slight discomfort due to it being the end of my long day, or was it that I just didn’t know what to do with myself? I wanted to write. I didn’t want to be rude. Later someone said she had wanted to knit. Brilliant. Yes. As I said, this show wants to be worked with, used.

Eiko and Koma break dance down to bare essentials: Bodies occupying Space over Time. Theirs contain so much motion potential yet in Naked what we see is the remains. Stillnesses are utterly complete. Sleepy movements, perhaps inspired in the moment by one another’s, are deliberate and glacially slow. In this world nothing lasts but everything lingers.

Blink and they will have upturned. Fall asleep and they will enter your dreams. Stare and their eyes will close.

Gentle sounds of moving nest parts will inspire your own creations. Go, and see.

– Penelope Freeh

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