Waking Up Iranian American

Waking Up Iranian American is a series of an autoethnographic works and performative interventions focused on the ways cultural exchange develops between performers and participants. It asks: “How can two strangers act together when we live in worlds in which so many forms of solidarity are diminishing?” These one-to-one performances create a space where the audience is invited to participate in discussions about being between cultures, nationalism, and Islamophobia, so that we might move beyond antiquated notions of free and oppressed. In this sense, the dialogical framework of the performance is a form of collaboration and, in its broadest sense, a key to changing power relations between the performers and the participants. In Waking Up Iranian American, intimacy is used as a strategy to counteract the positioning cultures of fear intend to create.

to be seen & unseen ~ public participatory performance 

What if you could experience a situation where you can be in the world without directly receiving the gaze of others? to be seen & unseen offers participants from all ages and genders the opportunity to walk in public wearing a costume. Through various modes of theatricality the performance confronts ideas of exposure, empowerment and in/visibility. You will be invited to take a journey.  During this journey you will be invited to wear a costume-a traveller’s garment. Attached to this costume is a mask. Similar to masks worn in Venetian culture, this mask will free you from social codes and markers of identity. We will walk hand in hand wherever you wish. At certain points during our journey we might sit in silence, we might talk to other people, or we might just talk to each other. When we decide our journey has reached a midway point we will retrace our steps. We will walk back to the place of our departure separately on opposite sides of the street. At the end of the journey participants will be invited to write about their experience inside the lining of the costume.


parricida ~ public participatory performance & installation

In Letter to My Father Franz Kafka uses parricida (the killing of the father) as a concept to reflect on how actions by authoritarian governments manifest in the family unit. To confront this concept an attendant will offer a provocation in the women’s restroom while washing your hands. What if you inherited your mother’s family name rather than your father’s family name? How would your mother’s family name change the way you self-identify, interact with others and perceive the world? 



Learning Farsi on Teheran-ro (테헤란로) ~ interactive installation 

In a cafe you will find a love story on napkins. Traces of this love story will be distributed under a ceramic bowl of sugar adorned with dried rose petals. Have a seat and enjoy a cup of tea while you read and catch glimpses of a video. This love story requires multiple endings. Participants are invited to write, in any language, the final chapter of Learning Farsi on Teheran-ro (테헤란로). Napkins will be provided; please bring your own pen.



dancing through the diaspora ~ participatory dance performance & video installation

In honour of the Iranian New Year, Norouz, the first Persian Day parade in Los Angeles took place during March 2015. Videos and photographs of the parade will be projected  showing various forms of traditional Persian dance and movements performed by the ethnically diverse community of the Iranian diaspora in Southern California. Participants will be invited to dance with a performer as she recalls this experience. Knowledge of dance or movement training is not necessary. Participants will be guided through simple steps re-enacting movements of the parade in a joyous carefree atmosphere.


how do we dress for the weather? ~ dance performance

how do we dress for the weather? transmits the sense of agency in a person whose subjectivity is complicated in a world where one’s body has been framed in a particular racial discourse. The use of autoethnography in this dance allows for an exploration of the affects of racist discourse on neocolonial subjectivites in a gallery space.


this story doesn’t begin with me ~ participatory performance art & installation 

The second installments of this performance involved inviting one audience member at a time into my bedroom. I introduced myself and handed them a flashlight. After a while we discussed the origins of our names and spoke about the history of our families. I invited participants to choose one story from a folder resting on a podium. When I finished reading the story we realized an hour is not enough time to give an account of one’s self.


speech at Speaker’s Corner ~ sound art performance

In this performance I was very concerned with the im/possibilities of representation. To challenge ideas surrounding representation and physical markers of identity, I used my voice to privately communicate a manifesto (of who I am/who I thought I was) in public. Thankfully my friend Bea Yates photographed the experience.


every four years ~ dance performance

every four years considers to what extent is mimesis subversion or (re)iteration. By adopting notions of multi-centeredness it analyzes parallels and discontinuities between embodying both aggressor and martyr, arguing that this hybridization consolidates fear and fearlessness, therefore, creating another presence or performance quality. 


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this story doesn’t begin with me ~ participatory performance art & installation

In the first installments of this performance I explored the process of adjusting one’s ‘self’ in different contexts while performing rituals. Two audience members at a time were invited into my bedroom and instructed to sit in chairs placed in opposite corners. I gave them flashlights and asked them to light me.




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