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Dialogue has always been an integral part of learning in traditional Jewish contexts. Now, The Contemporary Jewish Museum repurposes the centuries-old practice of havruta—the study of religious texts by people in pairs—for the contemporary art community. Bay Area-based artist Kota Ezawa collaborates with San Francisco native and contemporary dancer James Kirby Rogers in the next installation of the new exhibition series, In That Case: Havruta in Contemporary Art.
In That Case: Havruta in Contemporary Art brings individual Bay Area artists together with a scholar, scientist, writer, or other thinker of his or her choice for a ten-week fellowship in creativity.
The resulting collaborations are presented in The Museum’s Sala Webb Education Center.
Ezawa and Rogers are creating Tonya (working title), a three-channel video animation based on Rogers’ choreography, which he performed in front of Ezawa’s camera.
In his practice, Ezawa often reworks images from popular culture, film, and art history, stripping them down to their core elements. His simplified versions remain easily recognizable and potent, maintaining a keen awareness of how images shape our experience and memory of events. For Tonya, Ezawa removes Rogers’ movements from any larger context and repeats them on multiple screens, making the choreography, initially unknown to the viewer, at once familiar and mechanical. As a synthesis of two art forms, the piece blurs the line between human movement and the imaginative power of digital animation.