Opiyo Okach | ResidencySwitzerland | Performing Arts
April - June 2022 — Performing Arts
Opiyo Okach is a dancer, choreographer and interaction designer based between Kenya and France. His work explores the ways in which we perceive and relate to each other, construct and transgress frontiers across our differences of body, culture, geography, conviction. In recent times Opiyo has been developing multidisciplinary processes at the intersections of live performance and new media. His residency at Rote Fabrik in Zurich from April to June 2022 will continue this trajectory of work.
Opiyo will be expanding his ongoing project Bodies in Displacement, which is in part prompted by the context of Covid-19 pandemic. The project interrogates the notion of intimate physical presence, of ’being here right now’, that is intrinsic to live performance and theatre. He shares the concept of the project: “What happens to ’me here right now’ when place and ultimately time are not one but multiple; when ’me here right now’ becomes ‘you me, here there, now then’ what is the nature of being present or absent in the right moment or place; what happens to spontaneity and interaction. What is the nature of seeing and hearing; of making signs and gesture; of negotiating space & time; of touching and making sense of the other; when different bodies, time and place converge into an instance of shared difference across geographies of idea, belief, pigment, nation… Our post-global world seems ever increasingly polarised along social, cultural, ethnic, racial, or religious differences. Displacements of idea, body, pixel, data or belief provoke suspicion, fear, anxiety and insecurity. But aren’t our diversities our greatest strength? The things we have in common may bring us together, but aren’t the differences we share between us what makes us better, greater, ultimately resilient as humans?”
Bodies in Displacement extends the stage and auditorium across multiple geographies of both public and private space. Both the process and presentation of the work takes place online and on-site. Local and remote performers (dancers, musicians, creative technologists…) exchange movement, gesture, sound, words and data to create immersive sensorial environment in which body, text, data, image and space interact with each other. The collaborators generate audio-visual content that is streamed to online audiences who can make choices as to how they engage and interactively participate in the performances in real-time.
Opiyo Okach is a dancer, choreographer and interaction designer. He is artistic director of GaaraProjects, and is based between Kenya and France. He is renowned for his work with improvisation and instant composition. His work has toured in Africa, Brazil, Europe & the US and been presented at a wide range of venues and festivals including Dancespace at St Marks New York, Festival Avignon, Rencontres chorégraphiques de Seine-Saint-Denis, Dance Umbrella, Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts in San Francisco, Theater der Welt, Pact Zollverein in Germany. Through numerous long term initiatives he has acted as a catalyst for the development of dance in East Africa and continues to support the emergence of a new generation of dance artists. He recently initiated ‘Performance Lab Nairobi’ – a collaborative platform for contemporary creation process at the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi. He has received numerous awards including the ‘Rencontres chorégraphiques de l’Afrique et de l’océan Indien’, the ‘prix du Nouveau Talent Chorégraphiques SACD’ as well as a ‘Prince Claus Award for Culture and Development’.