Setareh Fatehi


From : Tehran
To: Edinburgh

Bodiless Heads No.2 Ch.4 Ideas in Flux, Bodies in Movement

Dance, Writing/ Research, Interdisciplinary, Visual Arts

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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 a research on traditions of depicting body in the Islamicate world. Since 2015 I have been developing this research with different artists and thinkers namely: Katerina Bakatsaki, Frederick Rodrigues, Pouya Ehsaei and Tara Fatehi Irani . Bodiless Heads No.2 started on October 2017 in collaboration with Shahrzad Irannejad in Tehran with the encouragement of the Arts Cabinet. 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 a 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 last week in BRISMES conference in Edinburgh entitled “ Ideas in Flux, Bodies in Movement”. Our conclusion will be an event in Rooberoo Mansion as a part of Untimely dance festival in August 2017 in Tehran . In BRISMES conference we presented our questions through a lecture performance which was made possible with the support of RCF and Arts cabinet and the University of Edinburgh. The main questions received by the audience were about the immanence and transcendence, in the spiritual traditions of the middle east and what role those play in our today’s life. How can we deconstruct our modern mind, which tends to be science based and finite with the help of lyrical, poetic and fluid observation? We did touch the problem of overratedness of individualism as a postcolonial practice in dealing with immigration of bodies and concepts. We discussed how flux of concepts and ideas from the Aristotelian, Stoic and Neoplatonic traditions and their dialogue with an ancient near eastern tradition has shaped our current conceptualization of the body and its relation with the mind/soul. “This kind of narratives need to be told, cause when you are in it you tend to forget that ideas are in flux and people have always been moving” says one of the members of our audience. “This protracted conflict is exacerbated right now, by technology, you can not ignore it anymore it’s on your phone , it’s right at your doorstep; but still to deliver that without diluting the visuals or the message, in different context than this academic conference is quite a difficult job to do.”

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

As a creative entrepreneur, I see the influence of different networks and international connections on the development of the scene that I am active in. This in my opinion is the effect of seeing yourself through the eyes of others in the first place. 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 does not include many other mediums and senses was addressed through this presentation. 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 a 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 a conference, taught us a lot about different and in my 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 weakening the message. Bodies are tend to be forgotten when we start to think, read and listen and we all tend to define focused attention within a not moving 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 which seemed like something different than a normal panel to experience a true 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 be just 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

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