Susanna Hast and Maryam Bagheri Nesami: Liminal Veil: Masking Dance and Text

In this co-presentation, we investigate alternative languages of text and body. As a displaced artist, Maryam Bagheri Nesami’s practice of dance writing is a political negotiation around homing, gravity, grounding, and belonging. Thinking with Deleuze and Grosz, she takes advantage of the elasticity of boundaries of possibilities and impossibilities, the porousness of spaces, the non-linearity of time, and the indeterminate contour of the Body without Organs. Through veiling, she practices (in) an elastic space where the politics of visibility and risk of surveillance is negotiated. Through the embodied practise of veiling, as non-violent resistance, an alternative language is produced inclusive to those who cannot afford the linearity, sequentiality, continuity and coherence with the central (dominant) spatio-temporality of presence in arts and academia, their archival lineage and history. In the second part of the presentation, Susanna Hast uses masks inside text, reassembling a forgotten archive existing beyond the reach of language. She proposes creating a counter-document (Anne Anling Cheng 2001), which abandons sequencing and a continuum of closed events. Instead, writing emerges wildly from non-existing data and decades of silenced craze. A counter-document, or counter-archive, is unstable, indirect and while it appears confessional, it is, in fact, loaded with refusals. Susanna presents concrete writing techniques for dangerous subjects which she has developed while writing creative non-fiction. Together we approach language and the body from converging and diverging points connected with the thread of subtle resistance.


Dr Susanna Hast is a researcher, song/writer, singer and body poet. She is currently a visiting fellow at the Center for Educational Research and Academic Development in the Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland, and part of the ‘Subtle Corporealities: Propositions of Resistance for Creative Practitioners’ project (funded by Kone Foundation 2020-21).

Maryam Bagheri Nesami is an Iranian dancer and dance writer based in Auckland, Aotearoa NZ. Coming from the underground community of dance in Tehran, Maryam’s PhD research at the University of Auckland focuses on the choreographic practice of solo as a potential site for practicing freedom. She is interested in choreography as an expanded field to discuss topics such as social justice, inclusion, non-violent resistance, strategic negotiations, and micro-politics. As an artist researcher Maryam has been working on a full time practice-led research project: Subtle Corporealities: Propositions of resistance for creative practitioners, with my colleague Dr. Susanna Hast. This two-year project is funded by Kone Foundation (2020-2022).