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Zoya Sardashti

The focus of my practice-based research explores socially engaged art that generates new forms of assembly and possibilities for alliance within the context of cultural exchange in performance. Drawing from one-to-one, participatory and workshop formats, I use performance to create community engagement, in order to inspire nonviolent realities and enact new ways of being culturally, socially and politically conscious. These projects use intimacy, proximity and polemics against delimitation of the body. Whether engaging the social body or the body of an individual, the work is participatory and discursive.

Locating the ethics of aesthetics and collaboration is fundamental to each project. Methodologies for performance making are always interdisciplinary. Whether creating choreography that constructs possibilities for social change through diagrammatic mappings or performative writing through autoethnographic research, my practice privileges process. Each performance is a process that mediates. It shifts a relation between myself (the performer) and other people (the participants/performers), the local cultural climate in relation to our combined cultural heritages, and a richer narrative is generated through dialogue. Words carry new meanings through exchange. This movement is embodied. A different approach to documentation is woven into the dialogical framework and collaborative process.

My performance practice moves through and with language, movement and images to engage others in a process of becoming. Performance is an opportunity to narrate the ways relationships are formed between languages, histories, and identities. I incorporate the paradigms of transcultural aesthetics, autoethnography, migration and displacement, hybridity and fluidity to illustrate how the framework of performance practice changes our relation to others not only by shifting perception of self, but contributes to a certain evolution in how we sense our ‘selves’ in and as other.

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