Film Screening: No Rule Is Our Rule (2023)

Film Screening: No Rule Is Our Rule (2023)

Eiko Otake - Interdisciplinary Artist ; Wen Hui - Choreographer, Dancer, Filmmaker

Wednesday, April 10, 2024 - 4:00pm
Auditorium See map
53 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Directed by Wen Hui and Eiko Otake
Edited by Yiru Chen, Wen Hui, and Eiko Otake
2023, 73min

This is a story of friendship between two independent female artists and their body memories each willingly carry. In January 2020, New York based, interdisciplinary performing artist Eiko Otake arrived in Beijing to visit Wen Hui, a Chinese choreographer and filmmaker. Eight years apart, Eiko grew up in postwar Japan and Wen during the Cultural Revolution. They planned to visit each other for a month to converse and collaborate. The surge of COVID-19 abruptly cut off Eiko’s visit and the pandemic has so far made Wen’s visit to the USA impossible but not the collaboration. Looking back on the video diaries they shot without a script, Eiko and Wen continued their dialogue on Zoom, sharing past works that form a deeper understanding of their circumstantial differences and characteristic similarities. Chinese film director Yiru Chen, once Eiko’s student, joined the team as a co-editor.

Born and raised in Japan and a resident of New York since 1976, Eiko Otake is a movement-based, interdisciplinary artist. She worked for more than 40 years as Eiko & Koma, but since 2014 has been working on her own projects.

Eiko & Koma created numerous performance works, exhibitions, durational “living” installations, and media works commissioned by American Dance Festival, BAM Next Wave Festival, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others. Eiko has performed her solo project A Body in Places at over 70 sites, including a month-long Danspace Project PLATFORM (2016) and three full-day performances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2017). In 2017, she launched The Duet Project, a multi-year, open-ended series of experiments with a diverse range of artists both living and dead. For the occasion of the 20-year anniversary of 9/11, Eiko presented her monologue Slow Turn, which was commissioned by NYU Skirball and co-presented by LMCC and Battery Park City.

Since 2014, Eiko and photographer historian William Johnston visited irradiated Fukushima several times to create tens of thousands of photographs of her dancing in Fukushima. In addition to presenting exhibitions, the book A Body in Fukushima was published in 2021, and Eiko edited a film of the same name, which premiered at MoMA’s Doc Fortnight 2022. She has created many dance-for-camera works and presented video installations and screenings. Eiko has been the recipient of many awards including the MacArthur Fellowship, Doris Duke Award, Scripps American Dance Festival Award, and a Bessie’s Special Citation. She teaches at Wesleyan University, New York University, and Colorado College.

A choreographer, dancer, Wen Hui also makes documentary films and installations. She is one of the pioneers of Chinese contemporary dance theater. She graduated from Beijing Dance Academy in 1989 with a degree in Choreography. In 1994, she studied modern dance in New York. From 1997 to 1998, she received a scholarship from Asian Cultural Council to further her study of modern dance and theater making in New York. 1999-2000 joined Ralph Lemon’s Dance project 《Geography Trilogy II – Trees》, performed at BAM 2000 Next Wave Festival, New York and on tour in the USA.

In 1994, she co-founded the first independent dance theater group in China:”Living Dance Studio” in Beijing. In 2005, Wen Hui and Wu Wenguang established Caochangdi Workstation and co-curated the “Crossing” International Dance Festival in Beijing. In the same year, they initiated European Artists Exchange Project and Young Choreographers Project. In 2015, Wen Hui curator the “ReActor” project at Power Station of Art in Shanghai.

For the past thirty years, Wen Hui has been using dance theater as a means of social intervention. Since 2008, she began to research on the body as a form of personal social documentation and to experiment how bodily memory catalyzes collision between history and reality. Wen Hui’s work has received international attention. She and the Living Dance Studio have been invited to the most probing stages and festivals internationally. Her new work, 《New Report on Giving Birth》was presented at the 2023 Festival d’automne à Paris. Recent exhibitions: “ Dance Only Exists When It Is Performed ” - a solo exhibition by Yvonne Rainer and Wen Hui at the Beijing inside-out Art Museum in 2019, and the Guangzhou Image Triennial 2021, “the arts of memory” ocat shenzhan etc. In 2021, Wen Hui received the official Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. “Goethe Medal”. In 2015, she participated in the Chinese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

2023 film 《No Rules Are Our Rules》, co-produced with Eiko Otake, won the Best Documentary Award at the Japan International Film Festival.

In 2009, French magazine Télescope describes Wen Hui as “a pioneer of dance…a miracle.” Her work Report on Body won the “ZKB Patronage Prize” in Zürcher Theater Spektakel (2004).

Support for the artists and this event also came from The Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation and Duke University 

China, Japan, Transregional