All posts tagged Dohee Lee

Dohee Lee - MAGO - Photo by Pak Han 2

Undercurrent: A Review of Dohee Lee’s MAGO

by Jai Arun Ravine

Wind, rock, women. These are the three abundances (samdado or “three many”) of Jeju Island, which lies off the coast of South Korea and is home to Korean American dance and performance artist Dohee Lee. Yet Jeju is also the site of a different kind of “three many”: massacre, militarism, US imperialism. MAGO begins in the mythic past of preverbal time, cuts through the thick silences of memory, and invites us to connect to our personal and collective histories and myths in order to protect and sustain our world.

MAGO / THREAD OF KARMA

Dohee Lee - Mago - Photo By Pak Han 4The world premiere of MAGO was staged at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on November 14 and 15. From the plaza the audience enters the long and narrow space of the Grand Lobby. Lee crouches low on a small raised platform at the front end. Behind her, down the platform’s steps and along the floor, trails a long thin stream of white cloth. Sound designer Adria Otte mixes the soundscape from the gallery’s balcony above. Lee embodies the Korean creator goddess, Mago.

The energy is something very ancient, existing before spoken language yet carrying the memory of eons of struggle.

Something like bacteria escaping from eroding rock on the sea floor, flexing its cells toward sunlight, coming into sentience. When she speaks it is a stone’s language—one that is highly porous, contrary to its surface. She wears a garment that seems to be made of thinly pressed paper, and she sheds her papery skin with a series of guttural whistles, like threads of breath and sound, like air released through punctures in her body. Continue Reading

Dohee Lee - MAGO - Photo by Pak Han

Resonance and Resistance: A Preview of Dohee Lee’s MAGO

by Jai Arun Ravine

Resonance

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