It features some super flexible dudes, so check it out: Mika Tajima Wants to Hire Contortionsts. And it’s not only limbs that get flexible, but time and space as well (bear with me here.)
The real starting point for this film was the extended day we spent with Mika at her Bushwick studio. With camera present, we got to eavesdrop on a phone conversation Mika was having with her gallery, explaining an idea for a contortionist and yoga performance during her upcoming show. It furnished us with the just the kind of unprompted, fly-on-the-wall narrative moments we’re hoping to tap for New York Close Up: we could tell a story without breaking the action or with Mika directly addressing the camera.
It also gave us the chance for a little time travel. In the edit room, we had both the earliest conceptualizing stages in the studio and the final performance itself in the gallery, two months later. In other words…we totally lucked out! Cutting between the two elements would be challenging, but, somehow the right thing to do. And it would hit another New York Close Up goal: to tell stories about the artistic process in something other than linear fashion.
ABOVE: Contortionists Christopher Bousquet and Tony Mitchell performing during Mika Tajima’s exhibition at Elizabeth Dee Gallery. Chelsea, Manhattan, 01.29.11. Production still from the series New York Close Up. © Art21, Inc. 2011.