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Daniel Arsham and Jonah Bokaer Straddle the Future With Dance

In a new collaboration between choreographer Jonah Bokaer and visual artist Daniel Arsham, space, both in time and physicality, is explored through object, movement and gesture. Three new dance pieces choreographed by Bokaer premiered at Lightbox in Manhattan, an event space displaying wall to wall video projections that complement the set design by Arsham, whose white plaster sculptural objects of relic technology adorned the stage.

Photo by Tess Deselle

The works “Future Tense” and “The Explorer,” performed by Sara Procopio, Tal Adler-
Arieli and the vivacious 80 year old actor/dancer Valda Setterfield, delve into a surreal landscape that straddles time and space. The small sculptures on the floor, sterile white film cameras and outdated equipment, first act more as restrictions for the dancers to move around, taking up space without being used. Later the antiquated objects become props in the modern movement and expositional gestures of the performers, telling the story of a tenacious relationship between a man and the two strong women who exist somewhere between past, future and memory. In closing, the objects are broken and taken out of context, making marks on the stage that was once barren and clean. With music by Riyoji Ikeda and sounds by DJ Spooky, the dance is suspended in eerie buzzing of relic technology with sounds that remind us of a never ending dial-up tone.

Photo by Daphné Jouanneteau

It’s easy to get lost in the dream world that Arsham and Bokaer have created, where relationships, movements and objects are as malleable as the time and space they exist in. The only thing constant in these pieces, all the lights, sounds and projected images fluctuate with the elements of the story, is the ability that the body has to keep moving.

Photo by Tess Deselle

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Check out our interview with Daniel Arsham about his art and architecture firm Snarkitecture for the MOTION issue. And our interview with Jonah Bokaer here!

text by: Kate Messinger










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