In the beginning of summer in June, Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks will crash into Shockwave Delay at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. The confidential protocol is a composition created and designed by Yoshiko Chuma. This performance is based on twenty chapters that cross over within the frame of two and half hours. Musicians, dancers and designers interact, but not directly—a parallel to incidents of sound, text and action, a metaphor for endless continuous circles of life, fluctuating between utopia and war. While observing, the audience perceives the results of war—tipping utopia. A utopia is an imagined community of society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens. One could also say that utopia is a perfect "place" that has been designed so there are no problems.
My work has been called “choreographed chaos”. I have intentionally avoided presenting an ordered universe in my work because I don’t see an ordered universe in my life. I don’t usually think of myself as a choreographer. Sometimes, I think of myself as a counterpoint composer, pitting note against note, placing several singular voices in parallel motion, creating a new harmony. Sometimes, I still consider myself a journalist because my work tends to begin with an outside point of view. I’m interested in the little personal issues of everyday life and how they can affect survival. It is a struggle for me to expand my concepts into something larger that an audience can share. I am always looking for a twist or a variance. Some people have called my work “spectacle”, but I don’t think in these terms. “Organized happening” is a term that might better suit me.
My artistic concerns are individuality, integration and reinvention. I have never set movement on a body, or created dance by making choreography in advance that I ask a dancer to perform. I have never transformed movement from my body to another body. I have always allowed artists to retain their individual existence and ask them to look inside themselves and at their surroundings to find a different path of expression. Dance can be any time and in any space, and anyone can do it. My work is not easy to understand and my process can seem haphazard. I am extremely demanding as a director. In my performances I want there to be an awareness of the audience within each performer. If we are in Ireland, Macedonia or Allentown, PA, I want the artists to simply be aware of who they are, and where they are. I am constantly reinventing my work because the artistic process is vital to me, and is more important to me than the product. I hope the process will come through in the final performance when it comes in front of an audience. If I am honest with myself, and with my casino artists, our process will show.
YOSHIKO CHUMA, Artistic Statement
Movement of performers onstage or in any given space, informal or formal, is interconnected with aural and visual aspects of the space and events, which have happened at that location. There is no division of time and space. We add music, film, dance, theater and combine elements to create something new, but the space echoes its own history. I am interested in collaborations between artistic expressions beyond borders; beyond countries. I believe creating a project with artists from different cultures allows me to examine the differences between us, and I realize that we also have much in common. I seek the place where a crossover can happen, where we can share. For 40 years, I have worked with young artists all over the world; and formed relationships across huge gaps of time, space and age, including Japan, Albania, New York, Romania, Macedonia, Afghan, Venezuela and Amman in Jordan.
We are all connected through our personal and private histories. We will use our own movements, words, images and experiences to create movement.
The Social and Cultural Context of the Work:
I’ve always been interested in how the United States influences the third world. When I was a teenager, I watched Perry Mason, To Tell the Truth, and I Love Lucy on the TV in my living room. Now, I fly to Ireland on Aer Lingus and I see reruns of Bewitched. I was a young adult during the Vietnam War, and now I see the US going to Afghanistan. It has been 79 years since WWII, but Japan still smells of occupation, as if it is a US colony. The United States is my home, but the country’s aggressive influence over the world intrigues me artistically.
In the sixties and early seventies, there were a growing number of anti-American and anti-war demonstrations in Japan. I was swept up in this sentiment and attended and ultimately led a number of demonstrations. A demonstration is a like a “production,” and this was truly where I received my artistic training. I was not the type to stand in front of a microphone and rally the crowd, so I did the publicity papers for the demonstrations. I was a silent agitator. I still am an agitator, both silent and not so silent. Art can be revolutionary, but is not always. Art must be guided, and there are limits. I can organize people in space, but it’s hard to organize people in life.
I am attracted to the ordinary existence of humanity, how it transcends culture and how it is impervious to the threat of annihilation. The images of conflict from my youth left an indelible impression on my psyche and are a recurring theme in my work, but I am always seeking intellectual and sensorial interaction through integration.
When I perform in a foreign community, I incorporate professional and non-professional local artists into my company. The benefit for the local performer is obvious, but my company members are enriched as well because a local voice transforms the performance experience significantly. As an example, in Cargo and Pi=3.14…, my collaborators from Sarajevo are onstage. This is vital to this project. How can their mere presence alter the construction of the work and the impression on the audience? Without them, we are trying to learn in a cultural and historical vacuum. I place cultural context literally in my work. I place it on stage in front of the audience.
Photo by Robert Flynt
Dance Artists: Agnê Auželyte, Claire Fleury, Emily Pope, Miriam Parker, Mizuho Kappa, Owen Prum, Ryuji Yamaguchi, Stephanie Maher, Ursula Eagly, Kathryn Ray, Sarah Skaggs
Actors: Eileen Myles, Jim Fletcher, Kate Valk
Musicians: Aliya Ultan, Christopher McIntyre, Dane Terry, Jason Kao Hwang, Marisa Tornello, Robert Black
Visual Artists: Claire Fleury, Elizabeth Kresch, Muheb Esmat, Tim Clifford, Van Wifvat & Kelly Bugden, Robert Flynt, Jake Margolin & Nick Vaughan, Sumi Nakazato, Ralph Lee (1935–2023)
Photographers: Julie Lemberger, Hugh Burckhardt
Master of Ceremonies: Nicky Paraiso
Concept Design, Installation, and Direction: Yoshiko Chuma
Brainstorm Team: Dane Terry, Jake Margolin & Nick Vaughan, Mizuho Kappa, Ryuji Yamaguchi, Stephanie Maher, Tim Clifford
Original 1980 Team: Composer Alvin Curran, Filmmaker Jacob Burckhardt, Dance Yoshiko Chuma
Pop-up Dance Artists and Musicians are veteran members of the School of Hard Knocks who will make surprise appearances daily.
The School of Hard Knocks was founded as a company of diverse backgrounds. Its purpose is to create, perform, encourage and sponsor experimental and multi-disciplinary and multi-media work. The School of Hard Knocks is an ongoing phenomenon—its shape is as diverse as the situations the company performs in—from the street, theater, small opera houses, concert halls to large scale spectacles. The activities include ongoing development and rehearsal of new works, and performances/residencies and collaborations with local artists on tour throughout the United States, East and Central Europe, Asia, Middle East, and South America. Notable international performers have been involved in the School of Hard Knocks over its 40 year history.
Yoshiko Chuma (conceptual artist, choreographer/artistic director of The School of Hard Knocks) has been a firebrand in the post-modern dance scene of New York City since the 1980s, has been consistently producing thought-provoking work that is neither dance nor theater nor film nor any other pre-determined category. She is an artist on her own journey, a path that has taken her to over 40 “out of the way” countries and collected over 2000 artists, thinkers and collaborators of every genre since establishing The School of Hard Knocks in 1980.
Tim Clifford is a visual artist whose sculptures, drawings and paintings address how vernacular objects and images accrue meaning and shape history. His most recent work combines elements of American carnival games with imagery drawn from mourning and funeral settings. Clifford’s work was seen this past summer in the exhibition “Gathering of the Bungalows” at Walter’s, Rockaway Beach, NY. Clifford’s public sculpture “Monument to a Missing Island”was seen in Randall’s Island Park, New York, in 2016 as park of the exhibition “FLOW.16.” His 2015 solo exhibition “Threat Assessment” was presented at Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project, New York. Other exhibitions include group shows at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Greenwood Cemetery, Socrates Sculpture Park, and High Desert Test Sites 5 in Joshua Tree, California. Clifford participated in the Artist in the Marketplace program of the Bronx Museum of the Arts in 2015, and received an Emerging Artist Fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park in 2007 and a NYFA fellowship in sculpture in 2001.
Robert Black tours the world creating unheard of music for the double bass, collaborating with the most adventurous composers, musicians, dancers, artists, actors, and technophiles from all walks of life. He has been the Bang on a Can All-Stars bassist since their inception. He has been a member of Yoshiko Chuma’s School of Hard Knocks since the 1980’s. Current projects include First Fridays with Robert Black – a monthly series of streamed bass recitals, a 10-channel audio/video bass installation reflecting on the Anthropocene with sound-artists Brian House and Sue Huang, an outdoor environmental work for 24 basses with composer Eve Beglarian, and double bass with original music written for Robert by Philip Glass based on the life and writings of Franz Kafka. He founded and directs the Robert Black Foundation Trust, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support contemporary musical arts activities in all possible manifestations. Recent commissions include John Luther Adams, Carman Moore, Joan Tower, Phil Niblock, Nick Dunston, Žibuolkė Martinaitytė, Krists Auznieks, Jakhongir Shukurov, and Daniel Sabzghabaei. Solo recordings include Philip Glass-Bass Partita and Poetry (Orange Mountain Music), Possessed (Cantaloupe Records), Modern American Bass (New World Records), The Bass Music of Christian Wolff and Giacinto Scelsi (Mode Records), and State of the Bass (O.O. Discs).
The music of Jason Kao Hwang (violin/viola) explores the vibrations of his history. His compositions are often narrative landscapes through which sonic beings embark upon extemporaneous, transformational journeys. His most recent releases, Uncharted Faith, The Human Rites Trio, and Conjure, have received critical acclaim. Raised during the “melting pot” era of assimilation, Mr. Hwang did not learn Chinese from his immigrant parents, only English. When his parents spoke in Chinese to each other, he would listen intently to glean meaning from the inflection, pitch, rhythm, and timbre of their phrases. Mr. Hwang imagines this musical experience of the Chinese language as the foundation of his creative instincts. In 2020, 2019, 2018, 2013 and 2012, the El Intruso International Critics Poll voted him #1 for Violin/Viola. His chamber opera The Floating Box, A Story in Chinatown was one of the Top Ten Opera Recordings of 2005 by Opera News. As violinist, he has worked with William Parker, Anthony Braxton, Butch Morris, Reggie Workman, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Swell, Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomeka Reid, Patrick Brennan, Will Connell, Jr., Zen Matsuura, Oliver Lake, Jerome Cooper and others. He has received past support from Chamber Music America, NEA, Rockefeller Foundation, NY Community Trust, NYSCA, US Artists International, Meet the Composer, and others.
Robert Flynt’s work has been widely exhibited in museums and galleries in the US and abroad since 1980. In 1992 it was featured in “New Photography” at MoMA in NYC, where it is in the permanent collection, as well as in the Metropolitan Museum, International Center of Photography, LA County Museum of Art, MFA Houston, among many others. In addition to collaborating with Yoshiko Chuma since 1983, he has been honored to work with many brilliant dance/theater artists, including Bebe Miller, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Benoit Lachambre, Pavel Zustiak, Jeff McMahon, Marta Renzi, and currently at BAM, Chris Masters. Flynt has received fellowships from MacDowell, Light Work, Art Matters, Bogliasco and Valparaiso.
Kate Valk is a performer and long time member of The Wooster Group, an experimental theater company based at The Performing Garage.
Jim Fletcher is a founding member of New York City Players theater company with Richard Maxwell. Works with many companies including Sarah Michelson, New Red Order, Elevator Repair Service and many others. Active now with The Wooster Group in A Pink Chair, The Mother, and ongoing.
Miriam Parker has been Working within the avant-garde jazz community as an artist and collaborator since birth, With school of Hard knocks since 2012, she uses movement, installation, paint, and media to build modular kinetic environments that become extensions of the choreographed body. Her practice is to find new modes of freedom through multiple narratives as a means to evolve. She does this through collaboration with other artists, musicians, filmmakers, dancers, and meditation practitioners - all equally concerned about social injustice and deeply rooted in experimental performance and interdisciplinary creation.
Chris McIntyre is a Brooklyn-based trombonist, curator, composer, band leader, and educator. Known for his involvement in Julius Eastman’s music, Chris serves as Director of TILT Brass (co-founder in 2003) and as curator and trombonist for Either/Or. He’s led an active career as a concert programer in New York (The Kitchen, MATA Festival, Ne(x)tworks, and ISSUE Project Room.) He began creating music for School of Hard Knocks in 2005 (River to River, City Center) and has continued in productions at La Mama, Invisible Dog, and in “Sundown”, two, 7-hour performances by septet’s of dancers and trombonists dispersed throughout ISSUE’s silo site in 2006. cmcintyre.com
Ursula Eagly is a dance artist who has been based in this city for over 20 years. Her works are characterized by a "rabbit-hole logic" (New York Times), and her research focuses on physical experiences not conventionally regarded as material for choreography. Ursula is also active as a writer and as a performer. She was a core performer in The School of Hard Knocks' Page Out of Order series (2006-2011). www.ursulaeagly.org
Ryuji Yamaguchi (Jordan/Japan) is a choreographer, dancer, and educator, and a member of the School of Hard Knocks since 2003. Born in Japan, Ryuji spent much of his early life between Japan and the US. In 2007, Ryuji was invited to Jordan as the dean of residential life and director of dance to open King’s Academy, a new coeducational boarding high school.
In the last 16 years, Ryuji has collaborated with the School of Hard Knocks as creative producer to ten major dance productions in Jordan and Palestine, and has invited over 40 artists from Japan and U.S. Ryuji is the founding director of Midan: Amman Dance Lab.
Eileen Myles is a poet whose new books are Pathetic Literature & a “Working Life”.
Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin are Houston-based interdisciplinary artists. Their visual art has been exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, The Blaffer Art Museum, and the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art and is included in permanent collections including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Brooklyn Historical Society. Nick & Jake are members of the theater company the TEAM and frequently collaborate as visual designers with choreographers Faye Driscoll and Yoshiko Chuma (including productions at New York Live Arts, The Walker Art Center, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Peak Performances (Montclair), On The Boards (Seattle) and The Venice Biennale). Nick & Jake are past NYFA Fellows, Tulsa Artist Fellows, and HARP Artists (HERE).
Dane Terry is a multi-media storymaker, performer and composer. He has made stories and music for all sorts of rooms and situations and with all sorts of people. Dane was the writer, composer and lead performer of the musical fiction podcast miniseries Dreamboy (Night Vale Presents 2018). Works for stage include: Jupiter's Lifeless Moons (PSNY 2018) and Bird In The House (La MaMa 2015, Under The Radar Festival 2016). Dane was the 2016 recipient of the Ethyl Eichelberger Award from PSNY. He lives in New York City
Van Wifvat grew up with eight siblings and studied art at MCAD in Minneapolis. In 1979 he opened Rock-It, a storefront art gallery in Minneapolis, to promote the work of local artists. The space also featured printed materials: art books, periodicals, fanzines, and postcards. Wifvat moved to New York in 1983 to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons. In 1987, he cofounded the Van Gregory and Norton design studio, specializing in curtain hardware, convex mirrors, and decorative pieces to the trade. With studio-partner Kelly Bugden, he began an art collective to present work created both as a duo and individually. The collective has also collaborated with other artists in fabricating specific projects. Kelly Bugden obtained a BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Georgia in 1976. He moved to New York in 1982 to pursue a career in art and commercial photography. His work appeared in books and magazines dealing with architecture and interiors, food and entertaining, and gardening. In 2005, Bugden joined forces with Van Wifvat at Van Gregory and Norton. Bugden’s interest in sculpture and materials, honed through observation and experimentation, led to the collaboration that evolved into their collective.
All the while making underground movies, JACOB BURCKHARDT has worked at a variety of jobs: Steel Mill laborer, grape harvester, Fuller Brush man, Truck driver, Taxi driver, camera repairman and freelance photographer. As an audio engineer his work in sound ranges from recording audio around the world to mixing sound tracks for independent films at a midtown studio. He now teaches in the Film/Video department at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. After making two feature movies in the 1980s, he went back to making shorts, in 16 millimeter film and video, where it is possible to preserve a direct relationship between the film and the film maker. He was one of the three collaborators of The School of Hard Knocks (Adventure in Moving) performance in 1980 in Venice, and began doing live sound design in SOHK shows with “A Night at the Millionaires Club” at the fabulous Pyramid club.
Kathryn Ray b. San Francisco, California, moved to New York early 70’s. With Lenny Pickett share son, daughter, and three grandchildren. Dance. Adjunct lecturer of microbiology at Brooklyn College CUNY. Have known Yoshiko a long time.
Nicky Paraiso is an actor, curator, singer, musician, writer, solo performance artist. He has been a fixture of the NY downtown performance scene for the last four decades. He is Director of Programming for The Club at La MaMa, and Curator for the annual La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, celebrating its 18th season April 6-30, 2023. He has worked as a performer with vanguard artists Jeff Weiss & Richard C. Martinez, Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, Anne Bogart, Laurie Carlos, Jessica Hagedorn, Robbie McCauley, among many others. Nicky is the recipient of a 1987 Bessie Award for Performance, a 2012 BAX in Brooklyn, Arts & Artists in Progress Arts Management Award, a Movement Research Gala honoree in 2016, a 2018-2019 TCG (Theatre Communications Group) Fox Fellowship for Resident Actors/Distinguished Achievement, and the 2019 (NY Innovative Theatre) Ellen Stewart Award for Stewardship. Nicky’s most recent full-length performance, now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories, directed/designed by John Jesurun, was presented at Ellen Stewart Theatre in 2019. Nicky is a life-long member of Yoshiko Chuma & the School of Hard Knocks since 1988 with “Crazy Dreams Hot Summer Part II” at Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors.”
Emily Pope is a dance artist, teacher, choreographer, and video creator. She is an alumna of UNCSA (1991), received their BFA in Performance/Choreography from OSU Dance (Summa Cum Laude 1997), and their MFA in Dance/Choreography from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts (2007). She currently performs in NYC with Tamar Rogoff Performance Projects, Tiffany Mills Dance Company, Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks, and Douglas Dunn + Dancers. She is a recipient of the 2020 Bessie Honoree Award for Outstanding Performance.
Julie Lemberger is a former dancer who photographs dance and other expressions of joy and creativity in NYC for 30 years. She is honored to be a part of Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks for many of those years. Lemberger is author, illustrator and publisher of her “Modern Women: 21st Century Dance” which is available: etsy.com/shop/dancecoloringbook
Stephanie Maher has been inhabiting all aspects of dance and improvisational in an International setting since 1985. Her deep involvement in cooperatives, and communally owned projects and founding concepts has helped share how one can create a lifelong platform for being an artist. Originally based in New York, she relocated to San Francisco in the 1990's. Dancing with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Co. and co-founded the collectives: CORE(K.Hennessy & J.Curtis) and COLLUSION ( K. Hermesdorf) who became her life long dance collaborators. Between 1996- 98 Maher relocated to Berlin, Germany, where she continued to organize and teach in community-based settings, founding K77 Studios in Berlin, Ponderosa Nonprofit, P.O.R.C.H. Professional program and SeminarHaus GmBH (business), and Gut Stolzenhagen e.G.-a living cooperative in Stolzenhagen, Germany.
Agnė Auželytė (1991) is a Lithuanian-born dance-maker and interdisciplinary performing artist, based between Amsterdam and Berlin, who currently studies choreography at SNDO (School for New Dance Development). Their choreographic curiosity moves through engaging with memory and history, documentation and the archive of the body, speculative realities and mythologies, artificial intelligence, and queer feminist theory. Agnė is interested in collaborative strategies and temporary communities that can occur in the space between fiction and realness, magic and science, shared beliefs, and social frictions. Agnė is a member of the experimental sound projects Otolitos and VROUW! and has been performing with Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks since 2014.
Elizabeth Kresch is a Brooklyn born artist. She paints and writes out of her experiences and travels over the years bringing her own eye to the current atmosphere based on the structure, inspiration, instilled and stemming from her broad range of favorite artists- among them Balthus, Gaugin, Toulouse Lautrec.. Arp. Recent shows include "Entropy & Eternity" at Love, Henry, Verge Fest at Wild Project, “Fathers & Daughters" at BCK Gallery in Montauk, ongoing performances with Yoshiko Chuma's "Love Story: School of Hard Knocks" at Haco Gallery, 92nd St Y, The Invisible Dog in Brooklyn, LaMama Experimental Theater and solo show "What Goes On" at EV Gallery, ~ Past shows have included Tactile Bosch in Cardiff, Wales.. National Portrait Gallery in London, M55 Gallery, Wendigo Productions. She studied at the New York Studio School, Sarah-Lawrence College where she studied writing and art and American University of Paris among others keeping her artist family roots strong through daily practice and observation.
CLAIRE FLEURY is a Brooklyn-based costume designer who combines elements of architecture with a fun, playful perspective.
Fleury’s vibrant costumes are designed to bring joy and fun to the stage, while also highlighting her deep respect for the power of the body in motion. CF has made costumes for dance companies Judith Sanchez- Ruiz and the Trisha Brown Dance Company, Yoshiko Chuma, Kathy Westwater, Antonio Ramos, David Zambrano and Mat Voorter (Brussels), Coco Karol, Yackez, Tatyana Tenenbaum, Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith, Afrofuturist musical artists The Illustrious Blacks, former Warhol superstar and political poet Penny Arcade, Nightlife Icon Susanne Bartsch, Laurie Anderson, and drag queens Rify Royalty, Merrie Cherry and Elemenopé, among others.
Her work has been published in Vogue Italia, Paper Magazine, Schön Magazine, Lucy’s Magazine, New York Times, Art Papers and many other publications.
Marisa Tornello is a vocalist, composer, performance + video artist from and based on Staten Island. Marisa cultivates an artistic practice that explores the art of living scores and thematic development through the dual lens of trauma and healing. They were a recipient of the 2022 Jerome Foundation Artist Commission at Roulette Intermedium and awarded the DCA Premier Grant in 2023. Their works have been shown at Roulette, the Tank, Jack, La MaMa ETC, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Vital Joint, Invisible Dog Arts Center, and Judson Church. They have worked with Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks, Pioneers Go East, Infrasound, and ECHOEnsemble. www.marisatornello.com
Mizuho Kappa is a multidisciplinary Artist, Choreographer, Entomologist as well as an experienced creative planner in marketing business. Based on all these life experiences, she has been seeking her own creative journey. She met Yoshiko Chuma and joined the School of Hard Knocks in 2019.
ALIYA ULTAN is a composer-improviser, cellist-vocalist, and video artist from Brooklyn, NY based in Brooklyn, NY. As a classically trained musician turned free improviser, Aliya’s sound is particularly unique as it presents contrasting styles, ideas, and approaches to the instrument resulting in a kind of maximalist minimalism, energy-based music. Her playing reads as both playful and cathartic through her physicality and use of preparations such as fishing line, chains, glass, aluminum, knives, and hammers. In the last two years, Aliya has been a highly active performer playing in all but a few of New York’s historic venues with musicians such as Calvin Weston, Anthony Coleman, David Behrman, Yasunao Tone, Tyshawn Sorey, Douglas Ewart, and Aaron Dilloway among others. Aliya currently performs in Hadestown on broadway and is a member of Yoshiko Chuma’s School of Hard Knocks. In addition, Aliya leads three of her own projects involving musicians from a wide range of scenes across Brooklyn and Queens. Aliya will be releasing her debut solo album this summer, another record titled Beasts Everywhere with GNR8RZ (Simon Hanes, Anthony Coleman, and Calvin Weston), as well as an EP with her septet called SEVEN.
Sarah Skaggs, artistic director of Sarah Skaggs Dance, has been making dances in New York City for over 25 years. She has received numerous fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts,The Jerome, Harkness, Greenwall and Rockefeller foundations. Her work focuses on the relationship between the body and spirituality as impacted by social and political crises. Currently, she is the director of the dance program at Dickinson College.
Owen Prum is a dancer living in New York City. He is a cofounder of the performance space Pageant in Brooklyn. He has danced with Neil Greenberg, Yoshiko Chuma, Jordan Demetrius Lloyd, Elizabeth Dishman, Burr Johnson, among others.
Muheb Esmat is an artist and curator. Born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan he is currently based in Brooklyn, NY.
Sumi Nakazato - Born in Tokyo, came to New York at age 9, raised in Westchester. Attended Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh University. Worked as a professional interpreter and translator. Visual artist creating TOPPI(突飛)NYC accessories since 2011. US citizen by birth to Japanese American nisei father born in San Francisco. Proud New Yorker since 1986.
Hugh Burckhardt, for the past few years, he has been photographing the fast-changing (some would say vanishing) East Village and Lower East Side, for many hours at a time, day in and day out. In the tradition of Weegee and Clayton Patterson, he is accumulating a day-by-day history of the street life of this neighborhood long celebrated for its immigrants and squatters, artists and addicts, punks and homeless prophets. A life-long resident of the neighborhood and the son of artists who have each made their own contributions to the downtown art world. Hugh has toured in Macedonia, Albania, Estonia, Japan, Jordan, Palestine, and other countries with the School Of Hard Knocks as a Stagehand/Performer/Photographer.