Sue Sada Was Here is a new dance film that will be part of the Memories of the Future III exhibition with Diyan Achjadi curated by Katherine Dennis. Join us for the opening reception Saturday September 29 1pm - 4pm with a curator and artist tour at 2pm.
About the work:
Sue Sada Was Here is an experimental dance film that turns written texts (statements, essays, manuscripts and poetry) by Muriel Kitagawa (1912–1974) into scores of physical movement, which are then enacted in the historic Roedde House. Kitagawa, a Nisei (second generation Japanese Canadian) writer, wrote and published in an era similar to the Roedde family’s publishing activities. Kitagawa’s editorial writing and unpublished manuscripts speak to the pre- and post-war periods in Vancouver, particularly the injustices of the Canadian government’s policies towards Japanese and Japanese Canadians. Her major body of writing took the form of unedited manuscripts and personal letters to her brother, Wes, wherein she documents an undercurrent of racism and fear in Vancouver during this time.
The performers, 10 Japanese Canadian women ranging from the ages of 8 to 85, return to embody Sue Sada, one of Kitagawa’s pen names. The performers use books as objects of print history that can omit histories of violence and colonialism. The books are also seen as objects on the edge of being “ghosted” out, their significance wavering in comparison to the ubiquitous power of social media and digital technology. As the performers pass, throw, toss and carry books within the architecture of the heritage house, a space that Japanese Canadians during the 1930 and 1940s would not have had associations with, they reinscribe the possibility of new arrivals and the gravity of Sue Sada’s spirit as ghosts of the future. Using their bodies as a way of rewriting the house’s story, the performers create new and multiple meanings for the site’s symbolic architecture.
 Kitagawa was the senior editor of the New Age (1932), the first newspaper to express the Nisei perspective and provide an outlet for this generation’s critical expressions and thoughts through writing. In 1938, she began writing for the New Canadian using several pen names including Sue Sada, TMK and Dana.
Directed by Cindy Mochizuki
Cinematography and editing: Milena Salazar
Music: Joelysa Pankanea
Choreography: Lisa Gelley Martin
Performers: Julia Aoki, Linda Hoffman, Naomi Horii, Saya de Couto-Hoffman, Cassandra Kobayashi, Lisa Gelley Martin, Erika Mitsuhashi, Tara Robertson, Lily Tamoto and Shana Wolfe
Lighting: James Proudfoot
Production assistants: Kazuho Yamamoto and Cherry Wen Wen Lu
Site assistants: Patrick Noda and Jacob Willcott
Stylists: Francis Cruz, Joanne Kim, Angela Ohana and Claudia Samaniego
Makeup: Marco Soriano
Props master: Malika Montague