Degenerate Art Ensemble
Joshua Kohl and Haruko Nishimura are co-founders and co-artistic directors of the Seattle-based multi-art group Degenerate Art Ensemble (DAE). DAE’s work has been presented by major dance and music venues as well as shown in galleries, and was the subject of a large-scale exhibition at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum in 2011. A 2012 Guggenheim Fellow, Nishimura uses her work as a director and performer to question the relationship between audience and performer—putting them in each other’s way, causing collision and conflict—with the goal of awakening and transformation. Kohl is dedicated to the exploration and proliferation of genre-free music that utilizes all of the available tools of music-making. In addition to his work with DAE he is also an avid conductor of indie classical music. DAE worked with legendary theater director Robert Wilson to create an interpretation of his and Phillip Glass’s epic work, Einstein On The Beach, for the Baryshnikov Center in New York. The Predator’s Songstress has been awarded major development funding from the Seattle Center Foundation to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair. DAE’s work has been supported by the Paul G. Allen Foundation, National Performance Network, Meet the Composer, the NEA, and U.S. Artists, among others.
The Predator’s Songstress
Degenerate Art EnsembleMore
Joshua Kohl is co-founder, conductor, composer and co-artistic director of the Seattle based multi-art group Degenerate Art Ensemble.Artist Bio
Haruko Nishimura has artistic-directed Seattle’s Degenerate Art Ensemble along with music director Joshua Kohl since its formation in 1999.Artist Bio
The Predator’s Songstress is a series of multi-disciplinary, site-transforming portraits revealing the stories of six invented anti-heroines inspired by historical, mythical, and contemporary women. This work aims to redefine what a portrait can be, approaching the subjects through multiple interpretations set in an immersive environment including theatrical dance, diorama, video portraiture and live music developed by Degenerate Art Ensemble’s team of artists and artisans. The inner world of these characters is explored through emotive song, visceral dance, physical theatricality and through the ensemble’s punk-comedy-horror sensibility and audience interaction. Large format video portraits explore the iconography of each character. Sculptural dioramas created in collaboration with the innovative firm Olson Kundig Architects incapsulate the world the characters inhabit. Animation pieces tell their stories. These elements are bound together in an environment infused with live, post-genre music for strings, electronics and idiosyncratic voice. The third chapter of this work, Warrior, was performed with the Kronos Quartet in November of 2013.
Joshua Kohl is co-founder, conductor, composer and co-artistic director of the Seattle based multi-art group Degenerate Art Ensemble (DAE). Under his co-direction, DAE has become a leading entity on the cutting edge of contemporary art in our region as well as an expanding presence internationally. His work with Degenerate Art Ensemble is an intensely collaborative work that sees no boundaries between the visual and performing arts. The work is presented in major dance and music venues as well as shown in galleries, and most recently exhibited in a large scale Museum exhibition at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum. Along with DAE, he has been invited by legendary theater Director Robert Wilson to create an interpretation of his and Phillip Glass’ epic work Einstein On The Beach in which DAE will work closely with Wilson and Glass on the work and present it under Wilson’s guidance at the Baryshnikov Center in New York. In February of 2012 he conducted the music of fellow DAE composer Jherek Bischoff with the Wordless Music Orchestra in New York at Lincoln Center with vocalists David Byrne, Mirah and several rising stars of creative popular music. Also in 2012 he traveled with DAE to the Czech Republic for a headline festival performance in collaboration with legendary Czech rock band Uz Jsme Doma. DAE’s newest work, The Predator’s Songstress has been awarded major funding from the Seattle Center Foundation. The work consists of the creation of six extremely intricate and painterly video portraits along with a series of animated films that integrate live music and interactive performance. Joshua’s work as a collaborative artist began in his days as a Cornish composition major in the 1990’s where he met and collaborated with many dance, theater and art students. Many of these artistic relationships have continued to the present. His newest work with Degenerate Art Ensemble was awarded a Creative Capital award and a Music Theatre Now award from the International Theatre Institute in Germany.
Haruko Nishimura has artistic-directed Seattle’s Degenerate Art Ensemble along with music director Joshua Kohl since its formation in 1999 which is her primary creative outlet. The company creates performance work infused with the energy of live music and driven by her own style of visceral movement theater and dance. The group’s work has been featured in 10 countries presenting large scale experimental dance and theater projects, concerts, site-transforming spectacles and ongoing public experimentation. The group was the subject of a major exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in 2011, was commissioned by director Robert Wilson to interpret his work Einstein on the Beach and undertook a massive site specific collaboration with Olson Kundig Architects in 2012 and will collaborate with the Kronos Quartet in 2013. DAE directors Nishimura and Kohl have been selected to be featured in the Museum of History and Industry’s Center for Innovation in a video featuring 12 Northwest innovators including Jeff Bezos, Dale Chihuly and others. In addition to her work with DAE, Haruko is constantly collaborating with both local and international artists to push the boundaries of her medium dancing in the street, creating rituals for strangers in cemeteries and performing and directing small experimental ensembles.