Unraveling Embodied Terrains Through Virtual Reality

Nadra Assaf and Heather Harrington

In this digital provocation, Nadra Assaf and Heather Harrington address their work and highlight the manner in which they communicate and perform together while existing thousands of miles apart. On January 14th 2016, Assaf (Lebanon) and Harrington (USA) embarked on a collaboration that led to the exchange of 35,500 written words centered around a woman’s body and how it is treated in society. Since then, they have added thousands more words and provocations. They searched their bodies for memories, excavated them, and brought them to life. They were able to witness and reframe these memories into a new, shared movement language. Their collaborative movement created empathy, bonding, and understanding on a deeper level than their written correspondences. Through their use of research and virtual connection Assaf and Harrington have continued to create work that speaks against the violence that hauntingly remains embodied in female bodies across the globe. This digital provocation was originally a part of the ETHER Project. Ethics and Aesthetics of Encountering the Other: New Frameworks for Engaging with Difference Principal investigator: Maggie Kubanyiova Arts and Humanities Research Council (AH/T005637/1)