With his new project ‘Hurt Locker Instruments’, New York based Japanese artist Ei Arakawa contributes to Casco’s ongoing exploration of a social space. Ei Arakawa’s work often consists of group dances, collective actions and improvisational performance, entailing a process of constructing a temporary, informal architecture with daily materials, which may then be transformed into an exhibition. In this working method, the notion of “makeshift” or what one may call “an organized practice of unexpectancy,” plays a key role. By extrapolating from a given context or an existing cultural reference and collaboratively moving towards an estranging situation, Arakawa resists the tendency to limit human productivity by allotting it a proper form, a proper place or a proper name. Instead, he enquires about the extent of “make-shift” agency whilst animating a communal space.
In ‘Hurt Locker Instruments’, which is also conceived in the light of Utrecht’s annual dance festival, Springdance, Arakawa merges two references – ‘Lying Freely’, a Casco project by Ruth Buchanan and ‘Tbilisi’, an annual contemporary art event in Tbilisi that Arakawa was involved in—in order to experiment with how different urban contexts, individuals of Utrecht and Tbilisi and two cities seemingly of no common ground, can be connected. Accordingly, Arakawa invites two artist friends who were part of his Tbilisi experience—Sergei Tcherepnin and Gela Patashuri—to join the performances as well as a carpenter friend Mari Mukai for a remote contribution. Also open for spectator participation and last-minute collaborators, their performances comprise of different referential archives and materials and take place at three Utrecht locations—Park de Gagel, Kanaalstraat in Lombok and Esperanto Monument—that introduce some heterogeneity into the otherwise monotonous urban landscape. The outcomes of the performances will then be reconstructed at Casco, where they will alter and extend Buchanan’s ‘Lying Freely’ installation.
This project is also part of Springdance (16-26 April 2010), an international annual dance festival in Utrecht.