Awardee: Shizu Homma

Primary Artistic Medium: Performance


This work, that is yet untitled, will have slow moving butoh based dances in shop windows and other windowed spaces that are currently being unused, as well as written information about what 2020 has bought up including housing, materialism, and racism.

Butoh was born at a time of unrest and student protests in post WWII Japan, when protesters were questioning imperialism and Japanese identity. I would like to create dances to be seen by anybody while being safe from communicating or catching any virus. In the spirit of early butoh, I would like to dance in backdrops and/or installations that are relevant to the topics that information will be distributed about.

The collective/punk band Crass distributed flyers and leaflets at their shows, to communicate about wars, imperialism, and government. In a time where handing 8.5”X11” copies may be unsafe, messages can be written on banners and hung on the exteriors of buildings, or taped to the windows where one can take a photo on their device, or provide websites to view the “digital flyers”. I believe that mixing slow moving durational performance with reading material is realizable, as the Noh theater in Japan was long and slow, so people were able to have meals, walk away and come back, and be occupied with other activities while attending a show.

Since March 2020 I have seen in social media, news, and emails how people are questioning themes of materialism and self sufficiency, earth matters and the planet’s resiliency, government agencies and the United States medical system, and labor and education. In Philadelphia particularly, race and class and housing issues are highlighted. I would like to do 6 dances on these 6 categories

While on socially distanced masked walks, I have noticed that many buildings on the Temple campus are empty and fallow. Starting in late August when I started to venture out to Center City to take masked walks to do errands, I started seeing businesses that have storefronts that are not being used. As dance studios and venues have been closed or unable to use, I have been dancing at home, or at parks with masks on. I have performed through organization on Instagram and Skype, in an apartment.

I would like to activate these unused spaces and “pass out literature” in a way that does not require contact.

I would ideally consult with people who are experts in the 6 subject matters as collaborators for me to interview and produce essays, or to have them write and draw the materials to pass on knowledge. I will create, alone or with a team, appropriate backdrops/installations for the windows to dance in.

As a whole, I would like to bring up questions of time/space needs, structures and the right to live, what has to be done to really be “environmentally conscious” and how to help people get along with each other and let living beings and the earth continue.