Work in Progress: Considering Utopia Site-Specific Performances


Elisheva Biernoff, The Tools Are in Your Hands, proposal drawing, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Eli Ridgway.

Date/Time: Thursday, Jan 16 | 6:30-7:15pm
Admission: Free with Museum admission
Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 415.655.7881 during Museum hours

About the Program

The Contemporary Jewish Museum, in partnership with the Center for New Music, is pleased to offer four site-specific performances in conjunction with the new exhibition Work In Progress: Considering Utopia. Each performance features an improvising duo of one musician and one dancer. The performances will happen within the gallery and “activate” Ohad Meromi’s sculpture 1967.  Highly acclaimed local dance artists Christine Bonansea, Shinichi Iova-Koga, Dohee Lee, and Justin Morrison will be paired with members of the Rova Saxophone Quartet and guitarist Jacob Felix Heule for these one-of-a-kind activations of the Museum's gallery.

Jacob Felix Heule ● Christine Bonansea
Thursday, Oct 10, 2013 | 6:30–7:15pm

Steve Adams ● Shinichi Iova-Koga
Thursday, Nov 7, 2013 | 6:30–7:15pm

Jon Raskin ● Justin Morrison
Thursday, Decr 5, 2013 | 6:30–7:15pm

Larry Ochs ● Dohee Lee
Thursday, Jan 16, 2014 | 6:30–7:15pm


Jacob Felix Heule is a percussionist and electronic musician focused on sound-oriented improvisation following the traditions of electro-acoustic improv, noise, and 20th-century composition. His playing embraces both rough-edged intensity and disciplined instrumental technique. The primary content of his music arises from a heightened awareness of the physicality of sound–vibrating material objects creating air pressure waves. His playing is minimalist in allowing the raw sounds of objects to stand on their own: The material is the music. Heule's Norwegian/American acoustic noise ensemble Sult has been actively touring the US and Europe, and released its second album, Harm, in 2013.

Steve Adams is active both as a composer and as a performer on saxophones, flutes and electronics. Steve is best known as a member of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, with whom he has played for twenty years and released over twenty-five recordings. He has performed with Anthony Braxton, Sam Rivers, Dave Holland, Cecil Taylor, Roscoe Mitchell, John Zorn, Steve Lacy, Mark Dresser, Joan Jeanrenaud, Fred Frith, Tin Hat Trio, Willie “Loco” Alexander, Yo! Miles with Henry Kaiser and Wadada Leo Smith, Donald Byrd, Jaki Byard and Ted Nugent as well as many other jazz, rock, dance and theater groups. Steve has written more than fifty compositions for saxophone quartet, as well as many others for varied instrumentations.  He received a Meet the Composer grant in 1993 and a California Arts Council Fellowship in 2000, and teaches at Mills College.

Christine Bonansea is a dance performing artist and choreographer. She’s been challenging the dynamic of live performance within the diversity of environment that she experienced internationally. She’s been performing with numbers of companies including Faustin Linyekula, Companie Allias, La ALTERNATIVA, Sara Shelton Mann, Tino Sehgal, Nita Little and more recently Katie Duck. Commissioned by festival organizations or residency programs, her recent pieces have been performed at Movement research, New York City; ODC, San Francisco and Portland; Dock 11, Berlin; and will be seen at the Whenever wherever Festival, Tokyo 2013. She’s been supported by Theater Bay Area CASH Grant, the Zellerbach Family foundation, and the French Consulate of San Francisco.

Shinichi Iova-Koga is the Artistic Director of the San Francisco based performance company inkBoat, founded in 1998. Avant-garde performance from Japan developed the core of Shinichi’s aesthetic and physical training, strengthened by sustained collaborations from 1997 to 2007 in both Berlin and Tokyo. Shinichi currently teaches dance at Mills College in Oakland, CA. Most recently, Shinichi has been Associate Director for Anna Halprin’s “Parades and Changes” and in 2009 for “Spirit of Place.” Shinichi was named one of the “25 to watch” in 2008 by Dance Magazine and awarded a “Goldie” award by the SF Bay Guardian in 2007.  Most recently, the inkBoat production “Line Between” was awarded the Izzie for “Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design.”

Born on Jeju Island in South Korea, Dohee Lee studied Korean dance, music, percussion and vocals at the master level. Since her arrival in the US she has been a vital contributor to both the traditional and contemporary arts landscape.  Lee's distinctive and profound performance style evokes the full spectrum of human emotion, the primordial, futuristic, visible and invisible realms. A review that appeared in the Chicago Tribune stated, “Lee unfurled an extraordinary lexicon of vocal colors, tones and textures. Yet she deftly controlled these otherworldly sounds . . . with her sinuous, thoroughly personalized one-woman choreography, self-styled art form."

Justin Morrison is a San Francisco based dancer and choreographer. As a former member of Amsterdam based collective MAGPIE Music Dance Company, spearheaded by Katie Duck, he has performed with many luminary musicians including Han Bennink, Michael Moore, Mary Oliver (ICP Orchestra), Rozemarie Heggen, Wilbert de Joode, Andy Moor (The Ex), Yannis Kyriakides and others in the Amsterdam music scene.  Originally from San Diego, he has enjoyed performing with Charles Curtis, Lukas Ligeti, George Lewis, Joseph Waters (SWARMIUS), and members of the Trummerflora collective. His evening length solo entitled WEAPON recently premiered at CounterPULSE in June.

Since 1978, Larry Ochs's professional activities have been primarily centered around the Rova Saxophone Quartet, which has made over thirty European tours and numerous concerts throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as recording over thirty CDs as a quartet and/or in collaboration with other artists. In 1986, Ochs formed one of the first bands to combine acoustic instruments and computer electronics in formal compositions that involved improvisation. In 1998, he toured and recorded with guitarist Fred Frith and koto player Miya Masaoka in a trio called Maybe Monday. His most recent composition was commissioned by Chamber Music America / Doris Duke Foundation, and he has twice previously been commissioned by Commissioning Music USA / Meet the Composer Fund. He composed the music for the film Letters Not About Love which won best documentary film award at the 1998 South by Southwest Film Festival. His monograph on "Strategies for Structured Improvisation" was published in 1999 as part of the book Arcana, a collection of composers' writings edited by John Zorn (Granary Press, New York).

Highlights of Rova founding member Jon Raskin's early career include his 1970s participation in new music ensembles directed by John Adams (San Francisco Conservatory of Music) and Dr. Barney Childs (University of Redlands). Before Rova, Raskin served as music director of the Tumbleweed Dance Company (1974–77), was a founding member of the Blue Dolphin Alternative Music Space and participated in the creation of the Farm—an art project that included a city farm. Highlights as a member of Rova include composing a collaborative work for SF Taiko Dojo/Rova; working with Howard Martin on the installation work “Occupancy”; composing music for Mr. Bungle/ Rova; organizing the thirty year Anniversary Concert of John Coltrane's Ascension; and performing the music of Miles Davis at the Fillmore with Yo Miles! Raskin has received numerous grants and commissions to work on a variety of creative projects: NEA composer grant for Poison Hotel, a theater production by Soon 3 (1988); Reader's Digest/Meet the Composer (1992 & 2000); Berkeley Symphony commission (1995) and Headland Center for the Arts Residency 2009. 


Work in Progress: Considering Utopia is organized by the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco. Major sponsorship for this exhibition is provided by Gaia Fund.  Supporting sponsorship has been provided by The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation.  Additional support is provided by Eta and Sass Somekh. 



736 Mission Street (btwn. 3rd and 4th Streets), San Francisco, CA 94103 | Hours: Daily 11am–5pm, Thursdays 11am–8pm, Closed Wednesdays | 415.655.7800 |