Arcadia: a collaboration in Japan

In February 2018 I visited Japan for a whirlwind tour of only ten days. This research trip was part funded by a Research Support Grant from Goldsmith’s University as part of my PhD.  I was able to indulge my interest in a conversation around AI with Sasha Drozd at Tokyo Institute of Technology and then bring this inspiration to my collaboration with artist and sculptor Kyoko Fujiwara.

Another artist and colleague from the Nakanojo Biennale group, Kaoru Murakami was there to see The Invisible Realm: a Path to Arcadia, the performance which gathered ‘the fruit of our labour’. After the performance she commented that my movement quality seemed very different from what she’d seen before. Her short review is really fascinating where she mentions being reminded of a recent NHK programme around AI-created animation and movement. Read it below.

The performance was shown within Kyoko Fujiwara’s solo exhibition at the Iwasaki Museum on 9 February 2018. Sound design was by Joel Cahen/Newtoy and all photos by K. Hayashi.


Review of The Invisible Realm: a Path to Arcadia

While Dominique was performing, her hand was shaking like an old robot or a badly made 3D animation. She looked like a sick old woman too: but she wasn’t. That’s because she didn’t show any emotion on her face. I wasn’t able to see any feelings in her, moreover, she didn’t seem to have any age. I felt her movement was unnatural. It looked like a character in a video game, which was forced to move by someone.

As I watched, I was remembering the words spoken by Hayao Miyazaki, the director of Studio Ghibli about movement that was created by Artificial Intelligence. He said the AI movement is ‘an insult to life itself’. This AI has learned certain movements and it can choose how to use the body. However, AI doesn’t feel any pain so it creates very creepy movement.

[link to Miyazaki interview on NHK]

As Dominique performed, there seemed to be this Zombie-like movement that is completely free from human disadvantage. It is free from muscle pain, from ill-health and from the existence of internal organs. This creature only has a single intention, to move as a super strong and healthy body. I felt a dark impression about our own ethics while looking at her performance. We can be cruel to somebody like Super Mario who doesn’t feel pain. Humans are now trying to entrust something to AI, but if this AI could come to naturally control things, the time might come when AI had a higher sense of ethics than human beings. I was thinking how we, once we have lost human dignity, might be at that time?

Kaoru Murakami, February 2018

Sacred Flesh at Liverpool Hope

I have just returned from the Sacred Places Conference in Liverpool which ran from 20 – 22 April at Liverpool Hope University. My presentation interrogates the notion of Sacred Flesh, by reflecting on my experience of visiting the Sokushinbutsu or Flesh Buddhas of Japan with Ko Murobushi in 2014.

Keynote speakers included Anne Bean, and a range of artists, scientists, astronomers, anthropologists and was a fascinating mix of ideas, thoughts and provocations that addressed where the sacred might exist within the contemporary. Together we were given free reign to dialogue with a word that seems banned or relegated to a secret, unspoken realm within a culture driven by logic and rationalism: it was like being allowed to breathe a little deeper.

Some notes:

‘Home’ as the extension of self: a sacred space can be a moving place for nomadic people.

Body as ‘home’: if the body becomes a sacred space, how does it then become violated?

Sacred spaces as being detached from the mundane and representing an idealized purity.

Irradiation of spaces by the bodies of performers, actors.

“staying with the trouble requires learning to be truly present, not as a vanishing pivot between awful or edenic pasts and apocalyptic or salvific futures, but as mortal critters entwined in myriad unfinished configurations of places, times, matters, meanings…” Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble





Vacancies at Galerie Wedding

My work Rota is installed at Galerie Wedding’s Vacancies exhibition which runs until 24 September. I will also be developing a durational performance all day on 17 September during Berlin Art Week.

The concept of Vacancies is to reframe the gallery as a flatshare or WG in German. Each artist has proposed an axis of enquiry and the works respond to sharing spaces in the context of ‘Post Otherness’, a notion put forward by Bonaventure S.B. Ndikung and Regina Römhild in the ‘Post-Other as Avantgarde’ (2013).

Rota explores cycles within the temporalities of spaces by focusing on the mundane act of cleaning as a way to deterritorialise and allow the possibility of transformation.


photo : Olaf Kramzik






Black Walks goes to Delphi, Greece

After having branched out into Field Trip Asia last year, visiting Singapore and the Philippines in a travelling exhibition curated by Daisuke Takeya, Black Walks will be part of the Animart Conference in Delphi, Greece. I will present the project and screen some of the films I made from the performances in the programme ‘Made of Walking’ curated by Milena Principle


photo: Pablo Cousinou

No Winter’s Tale 17 January 2016

‘Kein Wintermärchen’ is a performance event taking place at Funkhaus, Berlin on 17 January 2016. ‘No Winter’s Tale’ doesn’t provide a red thread for finding your way through the maze, but it is up to the viewer to rediscover their own narratives, their own sense through a labyrinth of visual riddles and cryptic becomings.

I will be performing ‘RED – Twilight’ exploring the engulfing bowels of my gigantic red costume within the tunnels and recesses in the old radio building, Funkhaus.


Participating Artists:

Dominique Baron-Bonarjee (Berlin)
Gábor Czap (Budapest)
Marina Epp (Berlin)
Zoe Goldstein (Berlin)
Ksenia Lazarieva Guinea (Madrid)
Brigitta Horváth (Sers, France)
Tony Dionys Segers (Antwerp)
Saverio Tonoli (Berlin)
Iphigenia Vogiatzaki (Berlin)

Address: Funkhaus Berlin, Nalepastraße 18-50, Atelier 406

(Tram 21 from Rummelsburg or Frankfurter Tor to ‘Kopenicker Chaussee/Blockdammweg)




The Four Dignities – Butoh workshop 28 & 29 November

Dance exists between zero and one, when you get to one, you must return to zero“, Yoshito Ohno

Butoh emerged as a physical language of actions, happenings and revolt in 1960s Tokyo. Today it has gained popularity as a dance or theatre form in many countries. At its origins Butoh, more than a form, is a method for exploring what the moving, lived body is as flesh, as structure, as semiotic object.

In this workshop we will explore the material quality of the body through the concept of the ‘Four Dignities of Zen’ walking, standing, sitting and lying down. As the basic positions through which the body exists the majority of the time, we will become conscious of the minutiae of movement that are at work within the structures of our bodies. Moving between these states through alternate points of reference including space, time, anatomy and imagery we will move into dance as we go towards 1…and then go back to zero.

It is at this zero level that a dance can emerge directly from awareness and sensitivity. Over the 2 days we will move between subjective and objective positions of experience and observation of the body, always referring back to the creation of the body for dance and performance by developing solo pieces and group works.

This is an open-level workshop open to artists, performers, dancers and people with an interest in movement.

Place: London Buddhist Arts Centre, Bullards Place, London E2 0PT
Time: 10.30am – 5.30pm
Advance booking: £ 100 full / £ 85 conc. (2 days): £ 60 / £ 50 (1 day)

Payment on the day: £ 110 / 90 / 65

EMAIL RESERVATION & INFO dominique.bonarjee[at]

Feedback and comments from previous workshops:

“Thank you for a lovely workshop … I really am fascinated by this idea of ​​body as material also as it’s a really interesting part of Butoh that you brought to my attention – I usually use a lot of images and it was good for me to not use those images but go into the body as it is. “Azzie

” It was a really inspiring positive experience which provided me with food for thought, increased body awareness and gave me a great idea !! Big thanks to Dominique and the other people at the workshop It was great. ” Tania




It is with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Ko Murobushi, a great teacher, a fellow wanderer, someone who really lived, experienced, questioned, and danced…with many of us. I am re-blogging a series of conversations that I had with him over the course of the last two years 2013-2014, in various cafés around Takadanobaba, dance events, bars, his small apartment. We laughed, we drank, we misunderstood each other at times. And then we went to Yamagata, the last trip I made before I left Japan in 2014. He was returning to Yudono-san, the sacred mountain of spiritual rebirth part of the Dewa Sanzan. As we sat at the shrine, Ko, Kimiko, Arihiro (Yamada) and myself, with our feet dipping in the warm water, Ko told us that the last time he had been there was at the start of his journey, of his wandering… 47 years before when he experienced the Yamabushi life for a time. Perhaps he has returned there once again…   read more >>

At Mount Yudono
At Mount Yudono
Ko on the coast at sunset
In front of the Shrine of Tetsumonkai, Yamagata
In front of the Shrine of Tetsumonkai, Yamagata