Before the 37 Trillion Pieces Get to Sleep

Oct 2, 2019



EDAM studio


7:00 p.m.


Before the 37 Trillion Pieces Get to Sleep was a performance by Taro Ito presented as part of the LIVE International Performance Art Biennale. This piece marked Ito’s return to performing after a four year hiatus following the diagnosis of a degenerative neurological condition that greatly impacted her mobility. Her performance addressed the invisible fear of radiation in Fukushima, Japan following the 2011 nuclear disaster, while also reflecting on the limitations and potentialities of performance in relation to her lifetime as an artist. 

Before the 37 Trillion Pieces Get to Sleep involved a slideshow of documentation from Ito’s visit to an elementary school in Fukushima, as well as an embodied response to a series of graphite tracings on paper that outlined the contours of her body. Generated through past iterations of the work, the drawings were scattered across the floor of the EDAM studio and elaborated on with the support of Ito’s assistants Yayoi Mashimo and Kai Shirakawa throughout the performance. To close the piece, Ito moved through a series of supine positions while humming a melody with the tonality of a sob, dedicated to the children and families displaced as a result of the disaster. 

Ito’s hour-long performance was followed by a question and answer period moderated by LIVE Biennale curator Makiko Hara.  

Presented in partnership with EDAM (Experimental Dance and Music) Dance. 

Curated by Makiko Hara. 

Video documentation of this performance is available upon request.

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Western Front is a non-profit
artist-run centre in Vancouver.

We acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as traditional owners of the land upon which Western Front stands.