Shotgun Reviews

Who Do You Trust? at the Asian Art Museum

Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Sofia Villena Araya reviews Who Do You Trust? at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

David and Hi-Jin Hodge. Who Do You Trust?, 2017 (performance still);  April 20, 2017. Courtesy of the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Photo: Quincy Stamper.

Yayoi Kambara with David Hodge and Hi-Jin Kang Hodge. Who Do You Trust?, April 20, 2017 (performance still). Courtesy of the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Photo: Quincy Stamper.

Dance is a powerful medium in which to explore trust. When dancing, a dancer must have physical self-confidence, letting their body go in order to flow with music and through space. A dancer must open up for corporeal proximity as other bodies touch and lean on one’s own form. A dancer must further trust the audience in their sensitivity and capacity to feed the dancers through their energy. Trust provides the ground for any dance performance to flourish.

Who Do You Trust? was an interactive dance performance choreographed by Yayoi Kambara and video work by David Hodge and Hi-Jin Kang Hodge, and presented on April 20, 2017, as a part of the Asian Art Museum’s Artists Drawing Club series. In a hospitable institutional frame, this piece was an invitation for the audience and the dancers to establish, through dance, a mutual trust bond.

The performance took place in the museum’s ballroom-like space, Samsung Hall. A large-scale screen divided the space in two symmetrical parts and played a video on loop. The film presented an intimate portrayal of the dancers’ understanding of trust and its implications in life. The confidential tone of this video, accompanied by soulful background cello music and the soft illumination of the space, generated an atmosphere of openness, demonstrating trust in the audience while inviting them to reciprocate.

As the dancers came into the left side of the space, the video continued looping for the entirety of the piece. Several audience members were invited to participate in the live dance. Throughout the performance, the dancers alternated taking care of and guiding the selected audience through space, by holding their hands and utilizing them as support for balance and jumps. Midway through the piece, the dancers switched to the right half of the room, where a couple of chairs were. As the dancers sat with the participants, the dancers asked them to touch both of their hearts, a request followed by the dancers’ poetic and extensive movements around the selected audience’s bodies.

The rest of the audience seemed to feel the need to support these acts of intimacy by opening up to the possibility to feel themselves through the performers and see the performers in themselves. Who Do You Trust? was a heartfelt proposal that utilized dance to collectively explore the corporeal and emotional potentialities of trust in order to arrive at a more sensitive human experience.

Who Do You Trust? took place on April 20, 2017.


Sofia Villena Araya is a Costa Rican artist based in San Francisco. Her present work is an exploration of the intersections between drawing and dance.