Rebecca Klassen

Meeting the Stranger's World

Laurel Nakadate's video performance art reveals the hidden through chance encounters.

Photographer Ichiro Okada

SHE OPENED THE DOOR to her small Manhattan studio apartment, earnestly shook my hand and said, "Hi. I'm Laurel," as if I hadn't just flown across the continent and arrived at her doorstep. "Sorry it's so hot in here. I can't control the heater." The window above the radiator was flung open, letting the December air seep in. And soon after: "Sorry the bathroom's such a mess," which it really wasn't.

I was surprised by her apparent nervousness, given someone who makes such daring work. Balls to the wall, it might even be called.