by Jai Arun Ravine
If sound waves could manifest as a corporeal presence, they would take the form of Korean American dance and performance artist Dohee Lee.
In early October I observed a rehearsal of Lee’s current work, MAGO, which will premiere at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on November 14 and 15. Lee was rehearsing at Eastside Arts Alliance in Oakland with sound designer Adria Otte, who has collaborated with Lee on the development of the sound score for the MAGO project since 2011.
As I witnessed Lee move through her material, I noted various states and qualities of texture. The utterance of her voice and body was at times airy and spacious, at times fiery, directed and harsh, and in other instances like pulled and stretched out thread. I saw correlations between the articulations in her throat and those of her fingertips and spine, and traced the intimacy between gestural voice and gestural body. They were deeply in tune—tonally resonant. Her movement was at once incredibly specific and infinitely elastic.
In my notebook I wrote, “She moves in a way that’s like the physicality of sound.” Continue Reading