Koosil-Ja Hwang

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Koosil-ja is a conceptual experimental choreographer who responds to Gilles Deleuze's philosophical work. Through his works of "process-based ontology of the body" and body as "the essence of being rather than a fixed material"; she views body as a site for a series of processes, movements, and flows. She expresses it through dance created with movement and interactive digital technology. Koosil-ja defines body as any whole composed of parts that stand in some definite relation to one another and has a capacity for being affected by other bodies. Body is also defined by the relations of its parts, by its actions and reactions with respect to both its environment and to its internal milieu. A body exists when a number of parts enter into the characteristic relation that defines and corresponds to its essence or power of existing. When the dancer, digital body, and interactive program form parts of a whole, they become a body. Coupling of body and technology is the diagrammatic at work. It is the semiotics (signs and signification) of material flows to produce a new body and results in changes in the constitution of the self. Koosil-ja created a performance technique called Live Processing, in which the performers extract and combine real-time movement data from multiple (often three) video sources displayed on monitors placed all around the stage. The concept-turned-system unfolds its process to the audience, as the video sources become the performer's external agency. Live Processing is modified for each project and the dancer uses it to dance beyond her own thoughts. In deadmandancing EXCESS (2003) she practiced the idea of "extension of body," mimicking dying performances collected from over 40 films. For mech[a]OUTPUT (2003, 2007) she meticulously followed a video of a Japanese Noh play. The original was decomposed - movement shown in onstage monitors, setting rendered in 3D gamespace, emotions represented via video installation - then re-synthesized. Dance Without Bodies (2006) studied the nature of presence and the function of image of real and digital. The performance space was divided, cameras and projection used to fold the space back on itself, with dancers appearing in person and onscreen. The two solo works were performed simultaneously in each space and both dancers used the same three video sources to produce movement. The audience viewed the multiple appearances of the dancers, in real and projected, on the video screen. They also viewed the differences in the outcome of the movement, which occurred because the ways to combine the three movement data were left up to the dancers. After graduating from Polytechnic Institute of New York University in 2007 with a Masters of Science degree, Koosil-ja presented her work Dance Without Bodies for the festival Nomadic New York in Berlin, Germany in August 2007 and iDANS in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2008, she was awarded a fellowship from Asian Cultural Council to research her new project, Blocks of Continuality/ Body, Image and Algorithm (Blocks), and stayed in a new Korean town located in Tokyo, Japan for six weeks. When she returned to New York, she began creating the project Blocks with her dance and media group. In Blocks of Continuality/Body, Image, and Algorithm (2009-2010), dancers' movements and speech interacted with avatars in a custom game engine to create an assemblage of bodies and algorithmic information, while the musician's brainwaves controlled the music. The project was created by Koosil-ja (concept, choreography, media direction, and visual); Melissa Guerrero, Ava Heller, and Elise Knudson (dance); Robert Ramirez (3D engine programming and performance); David Or (3D production management); Peter Blanco, Janelle Miau, Kara Yoon Frame, Yu-Sui Kao (Alex Kao), Seun Shogunro, Alexandra Zedalis, Will Wu, and Brian Real (3D creation); and Joshua Goldberg (interactive programming). The music for Blocks Part 1 was created by Geoff Matters and Koosil-ja, with a guitar performance by Geoff Gersh. For Part 3 Brainwave Music Sound Installation by Koosil-Ja (concept), Stephan Moore (program and engineering), Enrico Wey (installation engineering), Geoff Gersh (brainwave performance), and David Or (brainwave program live operation). Blocks of Continuality/Body, Image and Algorithm is commissioned by Dance Theater Workshop's Commissioning and Creative Residency program with support from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Jerome Robbins Foundation. Blocks of Continuality/Body, Image and Algorithm was developed, in part, during a creative residency provided through a partnership between the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at the Florida State University and Dance Theater Workshop with lead support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Funded in part by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation. Funds for the composer's commission were provided by the American Music Center Live Music for Dance Program. Blocks was performed at Florida State University MANCC in October 2009, the Dance Center Columbia College of Chicago in January 2010, and Dance Theater Workshop in March 2010. Her new project Oh Soul! is a dance and interactive project created by furthering the interactive technology for dancers, the digital body in video game space, and the brainwave data programming that we developed in our previous project, Blocks of Continuality/Body, Image, and Algorithm. Koosil-ja is a solo performer who also writes songs and performs brainwave music. She collaborates with the artists from Blocks: 3D engine programmer Robert Ramirez; composer, brainwave technology programmer, and video designer Geoff Matters; 3D artist Janelle Miau; and media performer David Or. We will also work with additional computer programmers. Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University and The Wooster Group at Performing Garage NYC are committed to support the creative process and present the work. Koosil-ja is awarded a grant from The Experimental Television Center's Finishing Funds program, which is supported by the Electronic Media and Film Program at the New York State Council on the Arts, for the creation of Oh Soul!. In addition, American Music Center Live Music for Dance has commissioned a grant for Geoff Matters and Koosil-ja's development of music for the project. Previously, koosil-ja/danceKUMIKO has been presented and commissioned in the following New York locations: 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center; The Kitchen; La MaMa E.T.C.; Aaron Davis Hall; Performance Space 122; Performing Garage; Danspace Project; Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors; Central Park SummerStage; Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, Japan Society, and Dance Theater Workshop. Nationally, they have been presented at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival; The Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, Dance Umbrella in Austin, Diverseworks in Houston, Jumpstart in San Antonio, Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, American Dance Festival in Durham, University of Wisconsin in Madison, On The Board in Seattle, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, and Columbia College Chicago. Internationally, koosil-ja/danceKUMIKO has been commissioned by European Dance Development Center in Arnhem, (Netherlands); Dusseldorf, and Lisbon, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin and iDANS, Istanbul. Koosil-ja and koosil-ja/danceKUMIKO received grants from Experimental Television Center Presentation Funds and Finishing Funds, Meet The Composer, New York State Council on the Arts, Department of Cultural Affair, National Endowment for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Mid Atlantic Foundation USArtists International, Asian Cultural Council, Bossak-Heilbron Charitable Foundation, Greenwall Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital Multi-Arts Production Fund, New England Foundation for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts BUILD and Artists' Fellowship Koosil-ja received a New York Dance and Performance award "BESSIE" in 2004 and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council President Award in 2011. Koosil-ja participated in Media in Transition conference 5 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Flying Circus Project 2007 Travelogue in Singapore and Vietnam in 2007 and Society of Dance History Scholars Annual Conference 2011, Toronto, Canada. She has taught in multiple cities in the USA, The Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Portugal, and Mexico. Koosil-ja also creates music and songs. In 1984, she co-founded the band Bosho as a percussionist and vocalist, released albums, and toured over 30 cities in Europe and Japan. She performed music with Takehisha Kosugi, Mimi Goese, and others and co-created music and wrote songs for all of her dance works and also for Woo.Co Dance Company, Copenhagen (04). She also wrote songs for The Wooster Group's To You the Birdie! (Phedre). Her music, Like Us, was released on the Agriculture Record (02) and was licensed for Robert Wilson's digital project, Portrays, for the Beijing Exhibition in May 2008. She learns so much from working with The Wooster Group as an artist, a performer and being. Their productions North Atlantic and To You The Birdie! (Phedre) brought her profound experience.