Irannejad Shahrzad


From : Teheran
To: Edinbourg

Bodiless Heads No.2 Ideas in Flux and Bodies in Movement

Writing/ Research, Interdisciplinary

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How did this grant contribute to the realization of your project in regard to artistic exchange, local cultural development and/or the promotion of cultural diversity?

Bodiless Heads is an ongoing interdisciplinary research project addressing the traditions of (non-)depicting the body in the Islamicate world. The second volume of this project has been a collaboration between Setareh Fatehi Irani and I, begining in October 2017, through the encouragement of Arts Cabinet. Our collaborative artisitic research project developed into a book with several chapters. We wanted to bring each chapter, based on its content, to either an artistic or an academic venue. We had a Preface in Theran. Chapter 1 was a lecture performance presented in the international platform for performer training (IPPT) in Utrecht in March 2017; Chapter 2 consisted of a video documentation on collaboration and coexistence recorded in April 2017 in Anarak and the introduction to our bibliography; Chapter 3 was an academic paper on "Healthy body in the medieval Islamicate world" presented in Alte Medizin conference in July 2017 in Mainz University; And Chapter 4 was what we presented in BRISMES conference in Edinburgh entitled “ Ideas in Flux, Bodies in Movement”. Our conclusion was an event in Rooberoo Mansion as a part of Untimely dance festival in August 2017 in Tehran. The grant made it possible for us to take our fourth chapter, as an artistic intervention, to a well-established, prestigious academic conference.

How does exchange, networking and international contacts contribute to the development of your artistic and cultural project?

I am an academic constantly seeking not to get trapped inside the academic world. I am committed to interdisciplinary research and transdisciplinary dialogues. Bodilless Heads is only one such attempt. As this project focuses on the cultural background that both the artist and the researcher come from, its exposure to an international audience is invaluable: an exposure to help us fine-tune our rhetoric and vocabulary, and help us view our endeavors from the vantage point of external eyes. BRISMES helped us examine our propositions on knowledge transfer and interdisciplinary exchange, through the eyes of their visitors. The question of what knowledge is and why the academic methods of disseminating it do not include many other mediums and senses was addressed. RCF support made it possible for BRISMES to feature what they called a ‘less traditional’ panel in their conference, it gave an impetus to the artistic project ‘Bodiless Heads’ to feature within a prestigious academic platform on the critical subject of migration/movement in MENA and – last but not least, it enabled the mobility of an artist and researcher from Iran into a European context.

Can you elaborate on the learning and knowledge you have gained and shared throughout this experience?

The effect of delivering a lecture with the playfulness that came through the unusual choices in the way it was presented within the set up of a conference, taught us a lot about the different, and in our opinion more interesting, methods of dissemination of content and overall engagement of the audience within the academic structure of a conference like BRISMES. Even within this structure, there are so many choices that can be made and thought of to deliver a text without sacrificing the message and the content. Bodies tend to be forgotten when we start to think, read and listen and we all tend to associate focused attention to a still body. ٌWhat we showed in BRISMES brought up the desire of physical interaction and lyrical interpretation as ways to get inspired by the content. We realized that in fact we could have gone a step further by not introducing our work as a "Lecture Performance", to experience a more radical intervention in the setup of an academic conference. Our audience were quite confident that our content was as much valid as an academic lecture and the performance aspect of it could just be a new way of communication that was suggested through our choices for the composition of space, bodies and images. This encounter specifically helped us a lot in understanding the impact of our proposed methodology of collaborating in between art and sciences on the experience that our audience had.

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Roberto Cimetta Fund

c/o ONDA
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75009 Paris - France


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