Ever since Koosil-ja’s research on Identity and Body collided into the brilliant work of Jerome Bel entitled “Jerome 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, or worse some are not being counted. All the questions are asked with indicators and answered with statistics. In these processes, who do we leave behind? “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, for what purpose? To find each other or lose oneself in them…? Along with Geoff Matters and Melissa Guerrero, koosil-ja/dance Kumiko operates the “deconstruction of theatrical representation” with cellphones, internet connectivity, and projections.
koosil-ja: concept, creator, and performer
Geoff Matters: creator and performer
Melissa Guerrero: creator, performer, and technology
koosil-ja/danceKUMIKO has been questioning the concept of identity by studying various philosophical and theoretical works since 1986. Race and racism drove us to study Identity and brought us to various scholarly works. Today we 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. We explore and challenge the fundamentals of dance to awaken the unconsciousness. The creative process becomes the act of resistance. We make dance with and perform philosophical and theoretical studies of the relation between power, body, social, and technology, and we experiment ways to dance the resistance. We come together to collaborate with dancers, composers, musicians, 3D animators, game and interactive programmers, installation artists, video artists, songwriters, sound engineers, lighting designers, philosophers, and scientists. We explore our 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. We critique the oppressive power and unpack the mechanism of capitalism. Our goal is to build a particular perception that makes us see the mechanism of the limits, and we want to bring the audience into our process to influence each other. Our work is always an evening- length and experimental and is intensely research based. We spend two to three years to create work. We bring process on to the stage, rather than building an elaborate production, rather than performing a presentational work. We create and dance locally often at the Kitchen, NYLA, Performing Garage, and 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. Geoff 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 who is 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, Melissa is a Licensed Massage Therapist and currently works full time as a mother to one incredible, wiggly toddler.