Graveyard Shift: A Body in a Cemetery

When 26 Sep 2020
6:00PM - 7:00PM
Where Pioneer Works / Green-Wood Cemetery
159 Pioneer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
United States

American cemeteries of the nineteenth century served a similar purpose to today’s public parks, as they once saw visitors picnicking on the grass, strolling down meandering paths, and socializing together as families. In the last century, however, these spaces have become more utilitarian in nature and often lack public engagement beyond funerals and grieving. Graveyard Shift, a collaboration between Green-Wood and Pioneer Works, proposes a new way of interacting with the space of the Cemetery by activating it through sight, sound, and movement.

A Body in a Cemetery is a new place-inspired performance conceived by internationally acclaimed artist Eiko Otake. It is presented as part of this year’s Graveyard Shift series.

From the artist: I have no intention to offer a theatrical production. My performance announcement is my promise to be there and to offer my body for a duration of time, together with other visitors. My lone body will mark the place and the time when audiences can gather to meditate on how landscapes hold not only the deaths of people throughout history, but also the flow of constant lives and deaths of all species. We will observe the Cemetery carefully and actively so we can hear the transformation of lives and deaths. 

About the Artist
Eiko Otake is a choreographer and performer who has spent decades practicing dying and mourning for the dead. A Body in a Cemetery will be the latest manifestation of her solo project A Body in Places, which began in 2014 as a twelve-hour solo performance at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. Various iterations of the project have continued since then, including a performance as part of The Hiroshima Panels exhibition at Pioneer Works in 2015, which was simultaneous with an exhibition of photographs of Eiko shot by William Johnston, A Body in Fukushima. Eiko performed A Body in Places last at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for three days in 2017. Other reflections on death include Offering at six Manhattan parks following 9-11, as well as Duet Project, which includes four partners who are now deceased.

About Green-Wood Cemetery
Founded in 1838 as one of America’s first rural cemeteries, the Green-Wood Cemetery soon developed an international reputation for its magnificent beauty and became the fashionable place to be buried. By 1860, it was attracting 500,000 visitors a year, rivaling Niagara Falls as the country’s greatest tourist attraction. This popularity helped inspire the creation of public parks, including New York City’s Central and Prospect Parks. Green-Wood’s diverse set of public programs include arts and cultural events, twilight tours, workforce development programs in masonry restoration, a new range of Social Studies-aligned school programs, environmental justice workshops focused on street trees, exhibitions in our Fort Hamilton gatehouse and much more. For more information, please visit www.green-wood.com.

Mandatory Safety Protocols
– Face coverings must be worn at all times
– Maintain 6 feet from other visitors and Cemetery staff and ambassadors
– Complete a health questionnaire in advance of the performance
– Sit only in designated areas and follow directions given by Cemetery staff and ambassadors
– Maps and a program will be emailed in advance of the performance
– Visitors will need to walk 20 minutes to and from the performance site over hilly terrain, proper footwear is recommended. For those with mobility issues, transportation can be provided from the Main Entrance.

For more information please click here.

Image courtesy of the event organizer.