Sanaz Sohrabi (Concordia) and Livia Daza Paris (Plymouth)

Livia Daza-Paris is a Venezuelan-Canadian transdisciplinary artist working with performance, participatory art, video and documentary evidence. Her art-led research is informed by her background with experimental dance and Skinner Releasing—a technique immersed in poetic imagery and principles of entanglements of self and world, including the more-than-human. In this research, attunement as method and decolonizing methodologies support the emergence of poetic testimonies about non-official history in a context of disappearances, systemic colonial violence and US interventionism. Attunement grapples with disappearance as a deeply disorienting felt experience, defying representation. Decolonizing methodologies admit a plurality of ways of knowing—including Indigenous knowledge–where multiple worlds frame the onto-epistemological.
Daza-Paris is a PhD candidate at the University of Plymouth, UK. Her works and writings have been presented and published in Performance Research Journal, VIS NORDIC Journal, THEOREM Journal; Ruskin Gallery, Cambridge, UK; Project Anywhere with Parsons Institute, NYC; Alchemy Film & Arts Festival, Scotland; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Caracas, Venezuela; and Optica Gallery in Montreal.
 ‘Attuning to more-than-human kinship: The wounded tree and the politically disappeared’ (in-progress) is an art-led research project by Livia Daza Paris, conceived through site-specific installations, performativities, durational art, video documentary and writing. The project suggests that assemblies of solidarity could be constituted by humans and the more-than-human to effect claims about non-official history of state violence in a context of systemic coloniality and US interventionism. Informed by Indigenous ways-of-knowing, attunement processes and ecology-as-intersectionality, the project is an invitation to think alternatively on articulations of truth while inquiring: who else is witness? Unanticipated ‘poetic testimonies’ emerge from more-than-human witnesses on who and what has been made disappeared.

Sanaz Sohrabi is currently writing her doctoral dissertation at Concordia University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture. Sohrabi’s doctoral artistic research maps an unlikely geopolitical calendar of political affinities, competing and contradictory national projects wherein oil was both the agent of imperial power and the catalyst for anticolonial political projects. She incorporates multimedia installation and essay film as her means of research to examine the transnational visual and film culture propelled around “raw material sovereignty” and decolonization of oil industries between 1950-1980. Her project aims to draw a comparison between anticolonial mobilization and resource nationalism in Iran with other nations in the Global South. As a filmmaker and artist, Sohrabi is deeply invested in researching the role of film and visual culture as an axis of solidarity, political influence, and propaganda during this period. She asks: how did oil become one of the main anchors to navigate the political task of nation-building on the one hand and transnational solidarity on the other? And in what ways did the decolonization of extractive industries rely upon the visual field to wrestle with the issues of growing national elitism and repression following independence and to navigate the networks of solidarity across different petro-states despite the ideological antagonisms in their competing political projects? This project further traces the relationship between the oil industry’s transnational labor force and the evolving visual regimes of identification as independent “oil nations.”

In this presentation Sohrabi discusses her recent film “One Image, Two Acts” which unpacks the photographic archives of British Petroleum during its operations in Iran to unravel BP’s widespread construction of cinemas in the oil towns of Iran wherein oil has operated as an agent of power in the colonial episteme. “One Image, Two Acts” is a coalescence of infrastructures, images, and archives of oil wherein cinematic time and geological time mobilize different sites, temporalities, and numerous material modalities.


*Video no longer available, but you can watch this panel discussion still