Skip to main content

Ei Arakawa and Carissa Rodriguez


Narrator: An installation—and performance set—by Ei Arakawa and Carissa Rodriguez occupies the middle of this room. The installation includes a freestanding wall with paintings on either side—these are made out of Hawaiian volcanic salt. There are also two vitrines, one holding a clock and the other its case, and three custom-made hat racks. Arakawa and Rodriguez use these objects in a creative examination of the Pacific Rim’s role in the politics, economics, and imaginative life of the United States.  

Stuart Comer: They began to really think about the Pacific, the Pacific Islands, in a slightly fun and slightly critical way. 

Narrator: Curator Stuart Comer. 

Stuart Comer: To maybe think about our expectations and our clichés and our stereotypes about those cultures, ranging from the tropical island fantasy to maybe lingering political ideas about Pearl Harbor. And to really play with those ideas through a series of objects, paintings, and performances that will happen throughout the show. 

There will also be a series of mobile display structures housing hats that have been produced for Ei, and each hat represents either one of the Hawaiian islands or the island of Manhattan. The hats themselves will be worn by performers at different points throughout the show, and they will be animated in a pretty crazy way. Ei has also been working closely with a woman who has expertise in histories of Hawaiian chanting, dance, and performance. So a group of performers will be chanting, drawing on these Hawaiian traditions, to begin to move through the space wearing these island hats and then gradually will interact with the painting in a very surprising way—but I don’t want to give away the surprise. 

So he really turns the gallery into a performance forum or an arena for action. So it was always important to me to have this idea that images can be more kinetic. And we often think of moving images as simply films and videos, but I love the way in Ei’s work that the image takes on a much more dynamic role. 

Ei Arakawa and Carissa Rodriguez



A 30-second online art project:
LaTurbo Avedon, Morning Mirror / Evening Mirror

Learn more

All visitors aged 12 and older must show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for admission to the Whitney, in accordance with NYC requirements. Visitors aged 18 and older will also be asked to show photo ID. Face coverings are required for all visitors. Learn more about the Whitney’s safety guidelines.