“Where does the dance take place?” is a question the performing dancer is somewhat familiar with. There is a constant negotiation between the moving body and the eye that beholds it, whether that be the dancer’s own, the teacher’s, the audience’s, the critic’s. But recontextualized by space and medium, the question becomes more literally confrontational. When curated in a series of images, the illustrated relationship becomes both clearer and blurrier — “is the eye part of the dance?” Oguri asks.

ARCANE Space is tucked away in Venice, California, a tiny, winding corridor of rooms that engages one’s spatial awareness immediately. This month, it hosts an investigation called DANCE and EYE, a collaboration between Oguri and photographers Andrew Macpherson, Richard Nielsen, Atiba Jefferson, Ricardo Vidana, and Tali Maranges. In individual sessions, each photographer captured Oguri’s movement with their own style and technique. The experiment highlights where the two practices converge and collaborate, and where they require independent exploration and direction.

DANCE and EYE - Oguri - Photo by Andrew Macpherson

DANCE and EYE – Oguri – Photo by Andrew Macpherson

In the images themselves, the intense push and pull of this relationship is bursting with possibility. It requires a certain focus of both artists, a suspension of awareness in some places and a hyperawareness in others. Oguri’s movement, the gallery notes share, “is not made for the camera….its context and content stem from embodied knowledge in seamless response to his surroundings.” And so the complex relationship between performing not for the camera but either acknowledging or ignoring its presence in the hands of a collaborator is a constantly shifting framework.

DANCE and EYE - Oguri - Photo by Richard Nielsen

DANCE and EYE – Oguri – Photo by Richard Nielsen

In supplement to the photographs that proliferate from these sessions is a 47-minute video compilation by embodied artist Roxanne Steinberg, who is also Oguri’s partner. She meant to document the sessions with still captures herself, she told me — but the movement between Oguri and the photographers was so compelling that it begged for video preservation. What results is yet another layer of the dance — if a dance takes place either in the moving body or the eye of the observer, what is taking place between them? What does a second observer of that relationship see, and does the first observer then become another dancer?

DANCE and EYE - Oguri - Photo by Atiba Jefferson

DANCE and EYE – Oguri – Photo by Atiba Jefferson

Vidana told me that as he was photographing Oguri, he was in awe of how his own body would contort to capture the shot. When he saw Steinberg’s video, he said, he suddenly understood why he was so sore after the session. And paging through the displays in the gallery, you can feel the way these collaborators lock in and surrender to the relationship between motion and camera. The images, taken in the very room they are displayed, offer a portal of insight into the sessions’ energy.

DANCE and EYE - Oguri - Photo by Ricardo Vidana

DANCE and EYE – Oguri – Photo by Ricardo Vidana

ARCANE Space co-founder Morleigh Steinberg (Roxanne’s sister) designed a limited-edition book that displays and preserves the relationships beautifully; it’s on sale in the gallery alongside a few prints, if you are so moved to take home a souvenir. DANCE and EYE runs Friday to Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., through November 27 at ARCANE Space: don’t miss it.

Written by Celine Kiner for LA Dance Chronicle.

Featured image: DANCE and EYE – Oguri – Photo by Tali Maranges