Ever since koosil-ja‘s research on Identity and Body collided with Jérôme Bel’s work Jérôme Bel, it changed its trajectory: it is no longer the concern of a body reduced to language, but the concern of our lives reduced to data. All the questions are asked with indicators and answered with statistics. In these processes, who do we leave behind? Who is not counted? As Bel proposes “A body cannot be overlooked,” but what we do is to count the bodies. We constantly aggregate and disaggregate the data and apply different indicators, but for what purpose? To find each other or lose oneself in them? In this new work, koosil-ja/dance KUMIKO are joined by their long-time collaborators Geoff Matters and Melissa Guerrero, as they meditate on the transformation and reduction of human life into data and deconstruct of theatrical representation with movement, cellphones, internet connectivity, and projections.
koosil-ja: concept, creation and performance
Geoff Matters: creation, performance, and technology
Melissa Guerrero: creation and performance
Founded by experimental choreographer koosil-ja, koosil-ja/danceKUMIKO has been questioning the concept of identity by studying various philosophical and theoretical works since 1986. Race and racism drove them to study Identity and brought them to various scholarly works. Today, they question how to dance with capitalism. The force of capitalism reduces and multiplies our identities and oppresses our every potentiality: our body is reduced to a labor force, and we are aggregated as a consumer, gender, race, age, class, and so on, depending on the market rate. In this, they explore and challenge the fundamentals of dance to awaken the unconsciousness. The creative process becomes the act of resistance. koosil-ja/danceKUMIKO makes dance with and performs philosophical and theoretical studies of the relation between power, body, social, and technology, while experimenting ways to dance the resistance. They’ve collaborated with dancers, composers, musicians, 3D animators, game and interactive programmers, installation artists, video artists, songwriters, sound engineers, lighting designers, philosophers, and scientists; and they explore their Live Processing (the original performance technique/video system), develop interactive digital technology, and interact with the architects of theater, to create the movement of new thoughts and invent a resilient body, critiquing the oppressive power and unpacking the mechanism of capitalism. Their goal is to build a particular perception that makes us see the mechanism of the limits, and they aim to bring the audience into their process to influence each other. Their work is always an intensely researched, evening-length experiment, often the result of years of experimentation. Rather than building an elaborate production, rather than performing a presentational work, koosil-ja/danceKUMIKO brings process to the stage. They have created and danced locally at the Kitchen, NYLA, Performing Garage; nationally at MANCC and others; and globally at universities in Japan and venues in Europe.
Geoff Matters works with sound and light. You may have run into him shredding with his electronic punk band, projecting decorations around galleries and parties, experimenting his way through a dance performance soundtrack, or plugging you in at your local jam session. Matters has composed and performed music and video for dance pieces by koosil-ja/danceKUMIKO including mech[a]OUTPUT (2003), deadmandancing EXCESS (2004); public sleep/Sleepover (2004, 2005); Live Processing (2006); Dance Without Bodies (2006); Body, Image, Algorithm (2010); Invisible/Visible (2012); and Wind Blowing On Us (2013). Matters has received grants from Experimental Television Center and Meet The Composer and a commission from American Music Center Live Music For Dance.
Melissa Guerrero is a movement-based artist greatly informed by Contact Improvisation, Tai chi, Authentic Movement, yoga, and meditation. She has performed with koosil-ja/danceKUMIKO since 2006 and has also had the pleasure of working with Kirstie Simson, Olase Freeman, Edisa Weeks, Kathy Westwater, Laurel Jenkins, David Hurwith, Stochastic Ensemble, and Japanese visual artist Norio Imai. She has shown solos and collaborations at Movement Research at the Judson Church, AUNTS, LAVA, and Shape Shifter Lab. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Guerrero is a Licensed Massage Therapist and currently works full time as a mother to one incredible, wiggly toddler.
koosil-ja is an artist living in the East Village.
koosil-ja would like to thank Geoff and Melissa and would also like to thank James S. Staley, Caitlin, Woramon, Amanda, and all the staff who made this performance run possible.
koosil-ja/dance KUMIKO: Open Data Story of Profit and Death is presented as part of DANCEROULETTE and is supported, in part, by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. It is produced by Dansology, Inc.