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Artist and researcher
working at the intersection
of performance, visual arts
and critical theory. 


Just Songs  

Arabic Letter Seen س
Arabic Letter Wow و

Of Quiet Whispers and Loud Speakers 

A Loud Voice Never Dies

Lovesong Revolution
The Post National Anthems
Empty Orchestra
Watani Al Akbar  


Theater of Operations, Exhibition
MoMA PS1, New York
Research Fellow 2019/2020      
BAK, basis voor actuele kunst
Post Opera, Exhibition

Delfina Foundation, Residency

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Copyright © 2023, Urok Shirhan.
All rights reserved. 

Performing the Nation

One of the ongoing interests in my practice is power, and the ways in which power is performed through sound, language, and images.  The contemporary era is one of increasing anti-immigrant sentiment and renewed fascist rhetoric. 

This research project is invested in understanding these mechanisms and the ways in which they are—however subtly—expressed in day-to-day interactions, images, and sounds.
It seeks to look at the different ways in which people individually as well as in communities perform the “nation,” and the ways in which the nation performs itself through and onto people. This longterm project takes as its main premises the displacement of image and sound, body and voice to disrupt the “familiar” or “habitual,” and engages with materials through sound, voice, and body directly as affective forms of knowing inseparable from thought and discourse. Asking, among other things: What does a homeland sound like? What does the embodiment of a nation do? How does sound in general, and the voice in particular, embody notions of national identity and statehood? How does one perform ‘postnationality’? What does rootlessness sound like? What are some former and current instances of political solidarity through song and sound?

This research is carried out in the context of the 2019/2020 Research Fellowship at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and it found its beginnings during a residency undertaken at the Delfina Foundation in London, with the support of the Mondriaan Fund.