Jewish experience in Exile is an old one, and, more interestingly, a very long one. Accordingly, most Jewish culture was formed in a situation of exile and minority, not of national sovereignty. The diasporic living situation pushed Jewish communities to develop special means for staying intact, ways of circulating images, and maintaining rites and customs among the dispersed people. This reality also demanded a reluctant relation to power, affiliated with being an Other, to mixing with others while bearing difference; a certain ethics for living.
The word "Pzura" in Hebrew has two meanings: as a noun, meaning Diaspora; as an adjective in the feminine form, meaning scattered, dispersed, and loose. The research considers the following question: what are the performative expressions of diaspora? How would these be articulated in artistic means? How might working on the notion of diaspora in performance art generate new ways of thinking about political and social issues, and suggest alternative forms of living together?
The research will touch upon the communal role of text and the actions of interpretation and discussion that developed among Jews in exile. Because of the lack of common land, sovereign rule, and hegemonic power, text turned into an ex-territorial space of gathering. One of the departure points of this research project is to make the action of reading explicit and visible by embodying reading in various ways and constructing it as a participatory and communal routine. Reading is perceived then as an intimate activity as much as a social practice of connecting with others. Developing scores for reading together serves as an image for structures of living together, maintaining a shared practice, and frameworks for coexistence.
In this course of the investigation, diasporic elements will be translated into performative means, striving to establish a sensible space for political participation.
Li Lorian (1987) is a performance-artist from Jerusalem. Her work explores performative means of diasporic living and examines Jewish cultural connections between body, text, and the act of reading. Her work questions existing modes of sovereignty and is looking for the imaginative potential of the performance-space to extend beyond given realities.
She was an artist-in-residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude (Stuttgart, 2016-2017), Schaubude Theater (Berlin, 2020), Tights: Dance and Thought (Tel-Aviv, 2022), and more. Her work was shown at different venues and festivals, such as Theatertreffen Stückemarkt (Berlin 2018), Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt am Main, 2020), and the Center for Contemporary Art (Tel-Aviv, 2022). Along her artistic work, she moderates theater and performance-art workshops for art students, people with special needs, and Jewish-Arab youth.
She is a graduate of the School of Visual Theater in Jerusalem (2011) and the MA Choreography and Performance program at the Institute for Applied Theater Studies in Gießen (2020), supported by a fellowship of the DAAD.
A performance by Li Lorian deconstructing and reconstructing an historical interview, conducted by Israeli cultural figure Helit Yeshurun addressing Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.
Li Lorian in public conversation and showing of the work-in-progress “Exile Is So Strong Within Me”, part of Artists’ Lab, a collaboration between…