BODIES ON THE LINE
New York City
October 30 – November 7, 2010
Anna Deavere Smith – Director
Gideon Lester – Curator
Funded with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Bodies on the Line is a 10-day colloquium at New York University, bringing together 9 artists and writers from across genres and around the world to share work, ideas and process. Our subject is borders. There are the real borders, such as the ones that are the focus in debates about immigration policy in this country and around the world. There are also political and ideological borders that divide us. On the one hand, borders limit us, and make us vulnerable. On the other hand we want to look at the possibilities and opportunities at border lines.
Bodies on the Line will consider the border as a point of energy and creativity in different regions and spheres of life. The symposium is structured around small working groups and some public presentations. Assisted by respondents, expert witnesses, and the collaboration of several universities and cultural organizations, Bodies on the Line Fellows will explore each other’s artistic representations and investigations of immigration, statelessness, and identity in the contemporary world. The goal of the colloquium is to create new artistic partnerships, to inspire future projects, and to use artistic practice as a way of investigating new and historical ideas. Above all, we seek to bring artists around a table to discuss, in their own unique ways, and with their own unique creative resources, some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Bodies on the Line: Schedule of Public EventsAll of the following events are free and open to the public. Admittance by RSVP only to Scott Kaplan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please see complete bios of all participants below.
Claudia Bernardi and Mark Danner
Sunday October 31, 2010 at 6:00PM
20 Cooper Square (Fifth Street at Bowery)
New York City
Fifth Floor Large, Conference Room
Claudia Bernardi, artist, printmaker and human rights activist presents samples of her work and has a conversation with award winning journalist and author, Mark Danner.
Monday November 1 at 6:30PM
La Maison Francaise
16 Washington Mews
New York City
Mohamed Bourokba (Hame), French-Algerian rapper will perform. His performance will be followed by a panel discussion with hip hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy, Professor Judith Miller, and Professor Emmanuelle Ertel.
Tuesday November 2 at 6:00PM
A photographic exhibition, talk, and book signing
20 Cooper Square
Fifth Street at the Bowery
New York City
Fifth Floor Large Conference Room
Photographer David Taylor shows photographs of the Arizona border from his book “Working the Line.” Book signing and reception will follow. Hosted by Radius Books.
Wednesday November 3 at 6:30PM
A Staged Reading
New York Theater Workshop
79 East 4th Street
New York City
Staged Reading of internationally acclaimed South African playwright Yael Farber’s play “He Left Quietly”. It is directed by Liz Diamond and read by a cast of some of New York’s favorite actors. Discussion will follow.
Saturday, November 6 at 6:00PM
Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway at 121st Street
New York City
Musician Michael Fitzpatrick calls out for compassion and world peace with his cello. He discusses the power of good vibrations with Rabbi Irwin Kula.
Moustafa Bayoumi is a writer and an associate professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He is the author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America, which was published by The Penguin Press in 2008. How Does It Feel To Be a Problem? won two national awards, an American Book Award and the Arab American Book Award for Non-Fiction, and has also been selected as the common reading by several colleges. Bayoumi has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Sun-Times, and on CNN, FOX News (Detroit), Book TV, and National Public Radio (multiple times), along with several European media outlets (from Sweden, Greece, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland). Bayoumi is also the editor of two books, The Edward Said Reader (2000) and Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and how it changed the course of the Israel/Palestine conflict (2010). He has published many essays in prominent academic journals, including The Yale Journal of Criticism, Interventions, Transitions, Amerasia, Alif, and Arab Studies Quarterly. He has also written for many popular venues, such as New York Magazine, CNN.com, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, The National, The Village Voice, and The Nation. His essay “Disco Inferno,” originally published in The Nation, was included in the collection Best Music Writing of 2006. His essay on being an Arab extra on the set of Sex and the City 2 was recently published in The New York Times Magazine. He currently serves on the Editorial Committee of Middle East Report. His website is www.moustafabayoumi.com.
Claudi Bernardi is an installation artist and printmaker whose artwork is impacted by war and the post war period. Born in Argentina, Bernardi was affected by the military junta (1976-1983) that caused 30,000 “desaparecidos”. Bernardi participated with the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team exhuming mass graves in investigations of human rights violations. In 2005 Bernardi created the School of Art and Open Studio of Perquin, El Salvador, a community based art project where children, youth and adults work collaboratively. Bernardi is a Professor at the California College of the Arts where she designs classes on art and human rights in Latin America. Her website is www.wallsofhope.org.
Mohamed “Hame” Bourokba
Mohamed Bourokba, aka Hame, was born in 1975 in Perpignan. He was the fifth in a family of six children, from two different parents. The family settled in France during the 1950s. His Algerian father, who could neither read nor write, spent his life working like a slave in the fields as a farm labourer. After the death of his wife in the early 70s, he remarried quickly for the sake of his three daughters. His new wife, Hame’s mother, was twenty years younger than him. She also came from Algeria. She became a housekeeper, learned to read and write, and quickly turned the conditions imposed on her to her advantage. Hame watched movies with his father: spaghetti westerns, Chaplin, stories about the war in Algeria (L’opium et le baton, Chroniques des annees de braise, Les deracines, La Bataille d’Alger). During the holidays he returned home, doing his first paintings there. Men smoked in cinemas, Bruce Lee fought on the screen. Mohamed loved stories: he drew, he read. But when he discovered rap, he grabbed hold of it, but in a scientific way, in order to open doors to the future. He left the province when he passed his bac. And started making money.
Wanting to surround himself with images, Hame studied cinema at the Sorbonne. Rap played a big part in his life; he collaborated with the group La Rumeur, which emerged in an environment increasingly weakened by commercialism. He made several videos for the group. After obtaining his masters in film and literature, Hame was awarded a scholarship. He spent a year at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Five short films later, Hame returned to France, determined to move to the other side of the camera. He wanted to write and direct films dealing with those subjects that were of greatest importance to him. Je ne suis pas le gardien de mon frere (‘I am not my brother’s keeper’), his first short film, received the support of CNC and French TV channel Arte, and addresses the subject of post-colonial immigration. Canal Plus has signed him to write a hip-hop musical about integrity and temptation. He has also written a feature film, Faux, the story of an imposter, which he hopes to shoot in 2012. Hame is also working on writing a novel to be published by Les Editions du Seuil.
Since 2002, Hame has been involved with a series of legal proceedings which became a political tug of war, and which, due to their novelty, have been covered by the international press (Herald Tribune, El Pais, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Le Monde ). After a pamphlet was published in the magazine La Rumeur, Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then interior minister, filed a complaint against Hame. In his article, the author addressed the issue of insecurity in urban neighborhoods, concentrating on the role of the police and power politics. Hame defended his statements on their merits, citing witnesses that included academics, historians, sociologists and linguists. In the name of freedom of expression, he was acquitted at trial and on appeal. Hame now faces returning to court for the third time. The interior ministry has never before pursued defamation charges so persistently. In 2010, the case remains at large.
Since 2005, Chipaumire has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Africa, most recently performing in Bergamo, Italy for the 2010 Takunda Prize, presented by Cesvi, an international humanitarian organization. She is a 2008 New York Dance and Performance (aka “Bessie”) Award for her choreographic work Chimurenga; and a 2007 New York Dance and Performance Award in the performance category for her work with Urban Bush Women where she also served as Associate Artistic Director. She has been honored with the Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award from Wesleyan University Center for the Arts (2007). Chipaumire’s work has received funding from the National Dance Project (NDP), Rockefeller MAP Fund, Creative Capital and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is featured in the documentary Movement(R)evolution Africa and the focus of two dance films: Nora, directed by Alla Kovgan and David Hinton and Dark Swan, directed by Laurie Coyle. Chipaumire studied dance formally and informally in her native Zimbabwe, Senegal, USA, Cuba, and Jamaica. She is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe’s School of Law and holds graduate degrees from Mills College of Oakland, CA in dance (MA) and choreography & performance (MFA).
Dance when you’re broken open.
Dance if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you’re perfectly free.
Yael Farber is an award-winning director and playwright of international acclaim. She worked extensively at the famous Market Theatre in Johannesburg, winning three BEST DIRECTOR awards in her native South Africa. In 2003 she was named ARTIST OF THE YEAR in recognition of the body of work she had created. She is renowned for socio-politically hard-hitting, powerful works of high artistic standard. Her original texts are published by Oberon Books (London, UK), and the productions have toured across the USA, the UK (including runs in the West End and at the Barbican Theatre), Canada, Australia, Japan, Europe and Africa. She has won a SCOTSMAN FRINGE FIRST AWARD, THE ANGEL HERALD AWARD and A SONY GOLD AWARD. She has been nominated for A DRAMA DESK AWARD in USA; a TMA BEST DIRECTOR AWARD in UK. She is a past invitee of Lincoln Theatre Directors’ Workshop, has been a resident artist at Mabou Mines Theatre Company in New York, created a new piece on commission for Haus de Kulttur in der Wereld in Berlin and developed an original text at the Sundance Theatre Laboratory. She is currently Head of the Directing Program at the National Theatre School in Montreal, Canada. Her commissioned adaptation of THE RAMAYANA will play at The Culture Project (NY) next year, as will MOLORA – her radical reworking of the Oresteia Trilogy. Ms. Farber is presently Playwright-in-Residence for Nightwood Theatre (Toronto, Canada) creating an adaptation of Iphigenia, look at Honor Killings. She will take up a short residency at University of Maryland next year, to initiate her adaptation of a King Lear set in the Middle East. Ms. Farber’s productions (past, current and upcoming) are created and toured under her company The Farber Foundry.
Michael Fitzpatrick is the recipient of the Prince Charles Award for Outstanding Musicianship conferred by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. He has worked musically with His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama for the past fourteen years on COMPASSION RISING, the East-West music collaboration filmed and recorded inside Mammoth Cave, the largest cave in the world. Based in Los Angeles, he performs as soloist around the world.www.michaelfitzpatrick.com
Din Q. Le
Dinh Q. Le was born in Ha-Tien, Vietnam. He received his BA in Art studio at UC Santa Barbara and his MFA in Photography and Related Media at The School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 1993, Le returned to Vietnam and in 1996 Le settled down in Ho Chi Minh City.
Le’s work has been exhibited worldwide. His recent solo exhibitions include, A Tapestry of Memories: The Art of Dinh Q. Le at the Bellevue Art Museum, Washington State; Destination for the New Millennium, The Art of Dinh Q. Le, at the Asia Society, New York. He currently has an exhibition, Project 93: Dinh Q. Le, at MoMA, New York.
He was also included in the 55th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, 2009 City Visions Festival, Mechelen, Belgium; 2008 Singapore Biennale; Thermocline of Art exhibition at ZKM in Germany; the 5th Asia Pacific Triennial at Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane Australia; The Gwangju Biennial 2006, Korea; Infinite Painting, Villa Manin, Italy; Only Skin Deep at the International Center for Photography, New York; Delays and Revolutions, Venice Biennale 2003.
His work is in the collections of Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Portland Art Museum; The Bronx Museum, New York; The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art; Singapore Art Museum; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.
Besides being an artist, Le also co-founded Vietnam Art Foundation-VNFA based in Los Angeles, an organization that supports Vietnamese artists and promotes artistic exchange between cultural workers from Vietnam and around the world. Through VNFA, Le and three other artists co-founded San Art, a not for profit gallery in Ho Chi Minh City. He is currently on the Arts Network Asia Peer Panel and Asia Society Global Council.
Carroll Smith-Rosenberg is the Mary Frances Berry Collegiate Professor of History, American Culture and Women’s Studies, Emerita, University of Michigan. Her two best known books are: Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America and This Violent Empire: The Birth of an American National Identity. This Violent Empire traces US racism, violence and paranoia to the formation of the new American nation and the adoption of the Federal Constitution. While at the University of Michigan she founded and directed the University’s Atlantic Studies Initiative, 1999-2008. The Atlantic Studies Initiative has three principal starting points: (1) that modernity, as we understand it, took form through Atlantic connections: the emergence of an imperial Europe; global capitalism, traced back to the beginnings of the Atlantic slave trade and plantation slave economies in “the New World;” the modern, mobile and fragmented subject; the novel, etc. etc. (2) that events in one part of the Atlantic are intricately connected to events in other parts of the Atlantic and (3) the North Atlantic cannot be understood in isolation from the South Atlantic of Africa, South America and the Caribbean.
Her present book project, Atlantic Citizenship, traces the origins of modern citizenship to the Revolutionary Atlantic of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and sees it as the product of complex interactions among the four violent Atlantic events: The US, French, Haitian Revolutions and efforts in the 1790s to establish an Irish Republic. It asks how did these new republics constitute the modern citizen. What rights could the citizen claim and most critically, who could claim citizenship? Who had “the right to have rights?” It focuses on the complex triangulation of race, slavery and gender, using them to examine the contradictions and ambivalence lying at the heart of both citizenship and liberal thought more generally. The coexistence of slavery with Enlightenment liberal celebrations of the “transcendent and equal dignity of all persons” is only the most obvious example of such contradictions. A second lies even closer to the conundrum citizenship poses. Enlightenment thinkers celebrated the universal principles of man’s equality and inalienable rights. But do these rights depend on membership in a republican body politic or, transcending the geopolitical state, do they reside in a person’s inherent humanity? But what if states refuse to recognize a person’s inalienable rights? Does “the people’s” right to control who belongs to their body politic trump the claims to inalienable rights of those excluded? Popular sovereignty/ universal rights, twin concepts of the Enlightenment, counter one another. Atlantic Citizenship takes this conundrum back to its origins and asks what effect the Haitian Revolution had upon the development of citizenship in the “white Atlantic” — not only the violence of the slave revolt itself but the very fact of an independent, self-governing black republic. Robin Blackburn claims that the Haitian Revolution instilled “a permanent panic” in the White Atlantic. Does that panic continue to inform exclusionary visions of citizenship in the US, Europe and Great Britain?
David Taylor earned an MFA from the University of Oregon and a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. His photographs, multimedia installations, and artist’s books have been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions at venues that include the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College, Chicago, Illinois; and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut. Taylor’s work is in the permanent collections of, Fidelity Investments, Boston; and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum among others. The New Yorker Magazine Online, The Los Angeles Times, Orion Magazine, PREFIX PHOTO, and the Mexico/Latin America Edition of Esquire Magazine have all featured his images. Taylor has completed recent major commissions for artwork that is installed in the U.S. Border Patrol Station in Van Horn, Texas and the United States Federal Courthouse in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Taylor’s ongoing examination of the U.S. Mexico border was supported by a 2008 Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and a monograph of Working the Line has just been released by Radius Books.
Carol Becker is Professor of the Arts and Dean of the School of the Arts at Columbia University. She is the author of several books and numerous articles. Her books include: The Invisible Drama: Women and the Anxiety of Change (with numerous foreign editions), Zones of Contention: Essays on Art, Institutions and Anxiety, Surpassing the Spectacle: Global Transformations and the Changing Politics of Art. She is also the editor of The Subversive Imagination: Essays on Art, Artists, and Social Responsibility. Her most recent collection of essays: Thinking in Place: Art, Action, and Cultural Production.
Mark Danner is a writer and reporter who for twenty-five years has written on politics and foreign affairs, focusing on war and conflict. He has covered Central America, Haiti, the Balkans, Iraq and the Middle East, among many other stories. Danner is Professor of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley and James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs, Politics and the Humanities at Bard College. Among his books are Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War, Torture and Truth, The Secret Way to War, and The Massacre at El Mozote. Danner was a longtime staff writer at The New Yorker and is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. His work has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times, Aperture, and many other newspapers and magazines. He has co-written and helped produce two hour-long documentaries for the ABC News program Peter Jennings Reporting, and his work has received, among other honors, a National Magazine Award, three Overseas Press Awards, and an Emmy. In 1999 Danner was named a MacArthur Fellow. He speaks and lectures widely on foreign policy and America’s role in the world.
SLiz Diamond is a Resident Director of Yale Repertory Theatre, and serves as Chair of the Directing Department at the Yale School of Drama, where she has taught since 1992. At Yale Rep, her productions have included Marcus Gardley’s DANCE OF THE HOLY GHOSTS, Richard Nelson’s translation of Strindberg’s MISS JULIE; Sunil Kuruvilla’s FIGHTING WORDS and RICE BOY; Seamus Heaney’s THE CURE AT TROY; Paul Schmidt’s translations of Moliere’s SCHOOL FOR WIVES, and Brecht’s ST JOAN OF THE STOCKYARDS; Suzan-Lori Parks’ THE AMERICA PLAY; and Parks’ THE DEATH OF THE LAST BLACK MAN IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD. A longtime collaborator of Parks, Liz also directed the world premieres of IMPERCEPTIBLE MUTABILITIES IN THE THIRD KINGDOM at BACA Downtown, BETTING ON THE DUST COMMANDER at the Working Theater, and THE AMERICA PLAY at the Public Theater in New York. Nationally, she has directed Lisa Loomer’s DISTRACTED, Octavio Solis’ GIBRALTAR and new translations of Euripides’ THE TROJAN WOMEN at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Racine’s PHEDRE at the American Repertory Theatre; and OF MICE AND MEN at Arena Stage. Liz is a winner of the OBIE Award and Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Direction, and has won directing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the SDC Foundations. She currently serves as Artistic Advisor of the Women’s Project, where she will direct the New York premiere of CROOKED by Catherine Trieschmann in the spring 2008.
Emmanuelle Ertel is a Visiting Professor of French literature and of translation at New York University. Her translations of American novels into French include Louis Begley’s The Man Who Was Late and As Max Saw It, Rick Moody’s The Black Veil, and Tom Perrotta’s Little Children. Her current work focuses on North African and Caribbean fiction and poetry, and more broadly, on the poetics of biculturalism, bilingualism, and diglossia.
Fab 5 Freddy
Fab 5 Freddy is a pioneer, a cultural legend and one of the key architects who brought hip-hop culture worldwide and mainstream. Born in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, Fab 5 Freddy began his journey as a young visual artist, executing graffiti pieces throughout New York City. His 1980 homage to Andy Warhol, a subway car covered in Campbell’s soup cans is considered one of the all-time classics of subway graffiti.
Fab then begins to exhibit his paintings on canvas in major galleries here and abroad. At that time he became the liaison between New York’s downtown film, music and art scenes and the new hip-hop scene developing in Harlem and the Bronx. He was affiliated with close friends and art world titans Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring and appeared along with Basquiat in Blondie’s ground breaking 1981 music video, “Rapture”, in which lead singer Debbie Harry immortalized him in that song with the lyrics, “Fab 5 Freddy told me everybody’s fly…”
He’s also featured in Basquiat’s film, “Downtown 81. Fab soon brought his vision to the big screen and produced, composed all the original instrumental music, and starred in the 1981 cinematic classic, Wild Style. Wild Style is the first hip-hop feature film, recently recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as number 7 on their list of the top 25 Music DVDs of All Time. His 1982 single, “Change The Beat”, is a hip-hop classic that has been sampled and scratched (ahhh, this stuff is realllly, FRESH!) by producers and DJ’s countless times. In 1988, MTV tapped Fab 5 Freddy to be the first host of Yo! MTV Raps, which quickly becomes the highest rated show on the channel. It was his idea to be the first VJ to take a show out of MTV’s studios onto the streets, across the country and then over seas. He brought MTV instant credibility along with his intelligent, engaging and insightful forays into the depths of hip hop culture and it’s major players. Fab 5 Freddy is also a prolific film director having lensed dozens of ground breaking music videos and commercials for artists like Queen Latifah, KRS-One, Nas, Snoop Doggy Dog and many more.
In addition, Fab has published numerous articles and essays on pop cultural topics for publications like Vibe, XXL, Interview and The New York Times Magazine and he penned the first dictionary of Hip Hop slang titled, “Fresh Fly flavor”.
Beyond the page and the small screen, Fab 5 Freddy was an associate Producer of the classic New Jack City and a consultant on and appeared in 2007’s block buster hit, American Gangster. Fab also recently guest stared on Law And Order: Criminal Intent where he played the gunned down rapper, “Fulla-T”. And in 2007 Fab 5 Freddy, as well as being an executive producer for the show was awarded with a VH1 Hip-Hop Honor award for his involvement in Hip Hop’s first feature film, Wild Style.
He’s currently finishing post production on a Jonathan Demme directed doc on Bob Marley in which he’s one of the producers slated for a 2010 release and launching his street wear line, MONUMENTAL. .
An internationally sought-after speaker, Rabbi Irwin Kula has inspired millions worldwide by using Jewish wisdom to speak to all aspects of modern life and relationships. An engaged and thoughtful trader in the global marketplace of ideas, he led a Passover Seder in Bhutan; consulted with government officials in Rwanda; helped build cultural and interfaith bridges in Qatar; and met with leaders as diverse as the Dalai Lama and Queen Noor to discuss compassionate leadership. Across the U.S., he works constantly and tirelessly with religious as well business and community leaders, corporate and family foundations, and religious and philanthropic institutions to promote leadership development and institutional change.
For all this and more, Rabbi Kula received the 2008 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award for his work “toward equality, liberty and a truly inter-religious community.” Fast Company magazine and Religion and Ethics Newsweekly (PBS) both named him one of the leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape, and he was listed three years in a row in Newsweek as one of the Top 10 of the “Top 50 Rabbis in America.”
Across the media, Rabbi Kula is in constant demand for the distinctive perspective he offers on matters both spiritual and secular matters. He’s appeared regularly on NBC’s Today Show, was a repeat guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show and co-hosted the weekly radio show, Hirschfield and Kula. In addition, he’s appeared on The O’Reilly Factor (Fox), Frontline (PBS), PoliticsDaily.com, among many others, and blogs for “The Huffington Post” and Newsweek/WashingtonPost.com’s “On Faith.”
Rabbi Kula has written several influential texts on religion and spirituality. His most recent book, Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life (2006), won a “Books for a Better Life” award and was named one of the “Best Spiritual Books of 2006” by Spirituality & Health. He also wrote and was featured in Time for a New God (2004), an acclaimed documentary in which he muses on religion as a “giant tool box” for personal and social transformation.
In 2003, Rabbi Kula hosted a 13-part public television special, “Simple Wisdom with Irwin Kula,” that used Jewish wisdom to explore such life issues as relationships, money, work, and sex. He explored similar themes in another public television special, “The Hidden Wisdom of Our Yearnings.” Rabbi Irwin Kula is the President of Clal — The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership), a leadership-training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University, his B.H.L. from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTSA) in NY, and his M.A. in Rabbinics and Rabbinic Ordination from JTSA. An eighth-generation rabbi, he has headed congregations in St. Louis, MO; Queens, NY; and Jerusalem, Israel and co-founded the Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living in Chicago.
Bio to come.
Shirin Neshat, is an Iranian born artist/filmmaker whose work addresses the complex social and religious forces shaping the identity of Muslim women. Neshat was recognised for her portraits of women overlaid with calligraphy in the Women of Allah series. She also directed several video installations, among them are: Rapture (1999), and Turbulent (1998), which won her the International Award at the 48th Venice Biennial. Her solo museum exhibitions include shows at the Whitney Museum, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Arts, Athens; The Serpentine Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin and Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal. Women Without Men is her feature directorial debut.
Mary Louise Pratt
Mary Louise Pratt received her B.A. in Modern Languages and Literatures from the University ofToronto in 1970, her M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1971, and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Stanford University in 1975. Pratt has received numerous honors and awards during her 27 years in academia including Guggenheim Fellowships, Pew Foundation Fellowships, and NEH grants. She served as the President of the Modern Language Association in 2003. Pratt’s arc of expertise extends through Latin American Literature and Latin American Studies, into comparative literature, linguistics, postcolonial studies, feminist and gender studies, anthropology and cultural studies. Her seminal publications within these disciplines include: Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (1992), an explanation on the discursive formation of Latin America and Africa as formulated by metropolitan writers; it has been called one of the most widely influential works of the last decade. Her other publications include the article “Humanities for the Future: Reflections of the Stanford Western Culture Debate,” which was reprinted three times. Another article, “Arts of the Contact Zone” had nine reprints and has been dubbed a contemporary classic by scholars within the field. Her 1977 single authored text, Toward a Speech Act Theory of Literary Discourse established Pratt as leader in the field of culture criticism. Professor Pratt’s most recent work as a critic and scholar broach the most vital and important questions shaping the present and the future of humanities, in specific, Pratt stresses the dynamic relations between high culture and popular movements, between gendered narratives and official legends, between national politics and global markets. She is a firmly grounded Latin Americanist, comparatist and linguist with an interdisciplinary and imaginative breadth of knowledge.
Alisa Solomon teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she directs the MA concentration in Arts and Culture. A long-time dramaturg, theater critic, and political and cultural journalist, she has written, among other places, for the Nation, New York Times, GuardianAmerica.com, WNYC radio, the Forward, American Theater, nextbook.org, killingthebuddha.com, and the Village Voice, where she was on the staff for 21 years, covering such subjects as theater, immigration policy, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, electoral politics, and women’s sports. She is a contributor to the weekly WBAI radio program, Beyond the Pale: Jewish Culture and Politics and she is the author of Re-Dressing the Canon: Essays on Theater and Gender, winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, and co-editor (with Tony Kushner) of Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. As a dramaturg, Alisa’s most recent project was working with Anna Deavere Smith on Let Me Down Easy.
Anna Deaver Smith, Director
Anna Deavere Smith is an actress and playwright who is said to have created a new form of theater. She has won numerous awards, among them two Obies, two Tony nominations, a Drama Desk Award, the Susan V. Berresford Fellowship from United States Artists, and a MacArthur fellowship. She was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for her play Fires in the Mirror. Her work, in a series called “On The Road: A Search for American Character,” combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance. She currently plays hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus, a series regular, on Showtime’s hit series Nurse Jackie. Additional screen credits include The West Wing, The American President, Rachel Getting Married, Life Support, and others. Honorary degrees include those from Juilliard, John Jay College of Criminal Justice at CUNY, Northwestern, Haverford, and Radcliffe. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has also been the inaugural artist in residence at the Ford Foundation, MTV Networks, and the Aspen Institute. She is a professor at New York University. She is founding director of Anna Deavere Smith Works, Inc., a center that convenes artists whose work addresses the world’s most pressing problems.
Gideon Lester, Curator
Gideon Lester is Founding Director of the new Arts Collaboration Lab at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches interdisciplinary courses on adaptation and project development. As a curator, dramaturg, and artistic director he has collaborated with leading American and international artists including Neil Bartlett, Chen Shi-Zheng, Martha Clarke, Rinde Eckert, Krystian Lupa, Peter Sellars, Anna Deavere Smith, Robert Woodruff, Anne Washburn, and The Dresden Dolls. He worked at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1997 to 2009, as Resident Dramaturg, Associate Artistic Director, and, most recently, Acting Artistic Director. His work has been presented at theatres and festivals throughout the world including Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Edinburgh International Festival, Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Festival d’Automne, and the Taipei Arts Festival. Gideon’s numerous translations include plays by Marivaux, Buechner, and Brecht, and his stage adaptations include Kafka’s Amerika and Wenders’ Wings of Desire. He directed the MFA program in Dramaturgy at the A.R.T./Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training, and taught playwriting, dramaturgy, and dramatic arts at Harvard University. He studied English Literature at Oxford University and Dramaturgy at Harvard, where he was a Fulbright and Frank Knox Scholar.
Joshua Lubin-Levy, Associate Curator
Joshua Lubin-Levy is a writer, performer and curator working in the New York City area. He has collaborated on projects with a range of artists including: Young Jean Lee, Vaginal Davis, Richard Move, Jack Ferver, Karole Armitage and Robert Wilson. Currently he is working on his PhD in the Performance Studies Department at New York University where his research is focused on Jack Smith. Recent works include Speaking From The Diaphragm at PS122 and a current collaboration with Kaneza Schaal (of The Wooster Group and Elevator Repair Service). He received his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University in American Studies and Theater.
Lily Sutton, Assistant to the Director
Lily Sutton is assistant to the director at Anna Deavere Smith Works, Inc. at NYU. A native New Yorker, she has a master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Higher Education Program. At Harvard she was selected as a voting member of the admissions committee. She lived and worked in Aspen, Colorado, for four years as admissions officer and scholarship coordinator at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and prior to this position, as artistic assistant and associate editor of the festival’s nine-issue summer program book. She also worked at IMG Artists with a roster of thirteen musicians, conductors, and ensembles. She is a violinist and has a bachelor’s degree in history from Wesleyan University, where she was concertmaster of the Wesleyan University Orchestra for four years.
Scott Kaplan, Assistant Researcher
Scott Kaplan is a playwright, educator and student. He studies religious expression within contemporary queer performance in the Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program at NYU. He has also written two full length plays. His last play Passed Over had a reading at Primary Stages. He has been a reading teacher for middle school and high school students throughout New York City and has worked with several organizations dedicated to educating middle school and high school students about the importance of diversity and compassion within our education system. He currently works as a research assistant at Anna Deavere Smith Works, Inc. at NYU.
Winnie Y. Lok, Stage Manager
Upcoming: The Whipping Man (MTC); Off-Broadway: FINN (Mabou Mines), The Little Foxes, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Things of Dry Hours (NYTW), A Boy and His Soul (Vineyard Theatre), Monstrosity (13P); The Winter’s Tale, The Good Negro, County of Kings: the beautiful struggle; Romeo and Juliet (The Public/NYSF); 2008 and 2009 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab; I _____ NY, Labfest 2008 (Ma-Yi Theatre Company); The First Breeze of Summer, Paradise Park, Queens Boulevard (the musical), Iphigenia 2.0, King Hedley II, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Landscape of the Body, The Trip to Bountiful (Signature Theatre Company); Regional: Menopause, the Musical (Coronet Theater); Apollo, Part I: Lebensraum; The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, A Perfect Wedding (Kirk Douglas Theatre); A Winter People (The Theatre @ Boston Court); M. Butterfly (East West Players); Slanguage, Sex Parasite (Taper, Too); Wing on Wing (Walt Disney Concert Hall); Topdog/Underdog. Nickel and Dimed (Mark Taper Forum).
New York Theatre Workshop
NYU Department of French
La Maison Francaise of NYU
Union Theological Seminary