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“Ephemeral Evidence” Profiles: Aretha Aoki


i'm nobody

Article written by Maura Donohue for Culture Bot

I met Aretha Aoki during grad school in Western Mass about six years ago. She’s half Japanese, I’m half Vietnamese. We bonded over our hapa status and moved on to more interesting discussions (often at my kitchen table, with a bottle of Maker’s Mark) with fellow grad Vanessa Anspaugh, about art and life and how those things intersect. Aretha’s work interested me first in discussion; our first semester was built more around reading, writing, and talking. We weren’t necessarily rolling around the studio together much, so our connecting points were mostly concept and theory and how these would inform our individual processes. There was something vital to each of us about the role of “the Author” and what that meant to our interests in individual and shared experiences. We would consider mining the personal to build artistic treatments of the authentic-integrated-sincere Self. Our various experiments in performance and process (and life practice, really) would inevitably lead to an understanding of impermanence as a constant state that challenged static notions of artistic ownership. Impermanence, in a sense, ephemerality not just in dance but, in all lived experience, provided us with a grounding foundation. We were able to reflect on our own work within ...

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