In this salon we explore “Eraser Mountain,” the latest work by playwright-director Okada Toshiki, and a representative work of the new ecological theatre. Part installation work and part contemporary performance, “Eraser Mountain” will figure in a wider discussion about performance, ecology, ecocritical theory and the role of arts and scholarship in addressing environmental crisis.
Helping to introduce and contextualize the work of Okada, the salon will feature esteemed speakers who work on Japanese theatre, culture and society including Uchino Tadashi (Gakushuin Women’s College, Tokyo), Karen Shimakawa (NYU) and Tom Looser (NYU). They will be joined by Una Chaudhuri (NYU) whose work on ecocriticism is foundational, and Mary Ting (CUNY John Jay College) artist scholar whose work addresses cultural political history and ecological loss. The salon will be moderated by Japanese theatre scholar Peter Eckersall (CUNY Graduate Center), who is currently coediting a book on Okada and his theatre group Chelfitsch.
This event will take place in the Department of Performance Studies: 721 Broadway, 6th Floor.
Free and open to the public – please RSVP via Facebook, below! The venue is wheelchair accessible. Reception to follow. Co-sponsored by NYU Performance Studies, and the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and the Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies Working Group at NYU.
In this salon we explore “Eraser Mountain,” the latest work by playwright-director Okada Toshiki, and a representative work of the new ecological theatre. Okada’s performance is in response to the on-going catastrophe caused by the Fukushima triple disaster of 2011. The name of the play refers to the excavation of a mountain top, when its rock and soil was taken away to support the reconstruction of the coastal city of Rikuzentakata, one of the cities that was destroyed by Fukushima tsunami in which many thousands of people died. The rocks taken from the mountain top to fortify the coastline literately erase the mountain and weaken the ecosystems around it. Everything is connected in tangible and intangible ways in this environmental cataclysm that in Okada’s work is an example of the new ecological theatre. For “Eraser Mountain,” Okada has worked with the visual artist Teppei Kaneuji to question a “human-centric approach” to the environment and, instead, he asks us “to reimagine the relationships between people, objects, and the world.” Part installation work and part contemporary performance, “Eraser Mountain” will figure in a wider discussion about performance, ecology, ecocritical theory and the role of arts and scholarship in addressing environmental crisis.
Una Chaudhuri is Collegiate Professor and Professor of English, Drama, and Environmental Studies at New York University and Director of XE: Experimental Humanities and Social Engagement. She is a pioneer in the fields of eco-theatre and Animal Studies. Her recent publications include Animal Acts: Performing Species Today (co-edited with Holly Hughes) The Ecocide Project: Research Theatre and Climate Change (co-authored with Shonni Enelow), and The Stage Lives of Animals: Zooësis and Performance. Chaudhuri participates in collaborative creative projects, including the multi-platform intervention entitled Dear Climate, and is a founding member of CLIMATE LENS.
Thomas Looser (PhD in Anthropology, U. of Chicago) is Chair and Associate Professor of East Asian Studies at NYU. His areas of research include Cultural Anthropology and Japanese studies; art, architecture and urban form; new media studies and animation; and critical theory. Previously a senior editor for the journal Mechademia, and now an editor for Asiascape: Digital Asia, and editorial advisory board member of ADVA, he is the author of Visioning Eternity: Aesthetics, Politics, and History in the Early Modern Noh Theater, and has published articles in a variety of venues including Boundary 2, Japan Forum, Mechademia, Shingenjitsu, Journal of Pacific Asia, and Cultural Anthropology.
Karen Shimakawa is an Associate Professor of Performance Studies and a Co-Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs in the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, and an instructor in the NYU School of Law.
Professor Uchino Tadashi received his MA in American Literature (1984) and Ph.D. in Performance Studies (2001), both from the University of Tokyo. He was a professor of Performance Studies at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1992-2017) and received the title of professor emeritus at the U. of Tokyo (2019). He is currently a professor of Performance Studies at the Department of Japanese Studies, Faculty of Intercultural Studies, Gakushuin Women’s College. Uchino is a leading performance studies scholar, whose border-crossing between Japan and the US, Japan and Europe, and Japan and other parts of Asia, including India, has been critically acclaimed in various interdisciplinary quarters of academics, artists and activists. His publication includes The Melodramatic Revenge: Theatre of the Private in the 1980s (in Japanese, Tokyo: Keiso Publishing,1996), From Melodrama to Performance: The Twentieth Century American Theatre (in Japanese, Tokyo: U. of Tokyo P, 2001), Crucible Bodies: Postwar Japanese Performance from Brecht to the New Millennium (2009, London: Seagull Books) and The Location of J Theatre: Towards Transnational Mobilities (in Japanese, 2016, U of Tokyo Press). Twice a recipient of the Fulbright Grant (1986-7, 97-8), Uchino has served in many Japanese academic societies, and is currently a contributing editor for TDR and an editor for Dance Research Journal of Korea. His expertise is widely recognized in performance communities and is a member of board of directors for Kanagawa Arts Foundation, the Saison Foundation and Arts Council Tokyo, and of selection committee for Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize and a member of ZUNI Icosahedron’s Artistic Advisory Committee (Hong Kong).
Mary Ting is an artist, cultural thinker, researcher and educator. Mary teaches at John Jay College in both the Environmental Justice program and the art department. Her work has focused on grief, trauma and environmental destruction for over thirty years. She has received support from NYFA, Gottlieb Foundation, McDowell Colony, LMCC, Joan Mitchell Center/NOLA, Wild and Free Foundation among others. Her artwork is currently on view in the traveling show, You Will Know Me, Migration Stories in New Delhi; Bangalore; Perspectives at Rockland County Art Center; an upcoming solo Our Hive is Sick at Amherst College. In Spring 2019 Mary was sent on a tour of her lecture, Chinese Modern HIstory and Wildlife Demand through South Africa meeting with wildlife/anti-poaching groups. Earthjustice featured her work in the blog post; The Earth Needs a Good Artist. Mary’s curatorial credits include ENDANGERED! ;COMPASSION: For the Animals Great & Small; Modern Mythologies: Contemporary Tibetan Artists; Metaphor: Folk Traditions and Contemporary Artists, among others. Also a gardener, Master Composter, Citizen pruner, and has upcoming community projects in Uttarakhand, India and Mozambique. maryting.com endangeredexhibition.blogspot.com