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undoing & doing collective
april 2019

LORENE BOUBOUSHIAN is a genderqueer artist originally from rural Texas, with family ties to Lebanon and Armenia. They work within dance, experimental music/noise, and performance art. They build a rhizomatic practice through visible forays into performances and workshopping, and less visible forays into curating, writing, dialogue, modes of care and support, and resource sharing. They utilize “self-exposure and vulnerability in real, risky ways” [CultureBot, 2011], and produce “thought-provoking commentary on social limits” [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2016]. They have shared work in New York City at Dixon Place, JACK, Danspace Project, Issue Project Room, Center for Performance Research, and the Queens Museum. They have held residencies at New York Live Arts (Fresh Tracks) and Chez Bushwick, and currently are in residence at Movement Research.

They have also performed in Seattle, Madison, Athens, and Beirut, performing in festivals including New Genre Festival (Tulsa), Miami Performance International Festival, QueerNY and Queer Zagreb, Inverse Performance Art Festival, and Month of Performance Art-Berlin. They have shared their interdisciplinary teaching practice at universities in Kentucky, Beirut, and Mexico. They also curate interdisciplinary performance at the Glove in NYC.

They have performed for Jill Sigman/thinkdance, Yvonne Meier, Melinda Ring, luciana achugar, Daria Fain, and Kathy Westwater. They are a former member of NYC based collectives XHOIR (organized by Colin Self), Feminist Art Group (organized by IV Castellanos), and Social Health Performance Club. They are currently leading the UNDOING AND DOING Social Practice Collective. 


"In my creative practice, I synthesize movement and voice improvisation, a range of performed actions, and audience interaction in order to challenge and expand the notion of improvisation. My collaborative and solo works are informed by a cross-section of aesthetic ideas and values across dance, music, and performance art.


Approaching each situation with true spontaneity, I seek to throw the milieu of a given performance situation into relief through humor, social commentary, and vulnerability. I challenge dominant social positions in a given performance context through emotionally jarring juxtapositions of text, movement, and interaction. By wielding social content through humor, I oscillate between charm and desolation. Laughter is a central generative element of the work; it paves the way toward exhumation--of myself, my audiences, and the setting.


I lay myself bare by framing performance as a shared site of pain, desire, tension, confusion, inability, and power between me and my audience. By plumbing the depths of these capacities, and intuitively moving between them, I intend to activate liminal spaces of experience, never landing on holistic meaning.


I consider improvisation a strategy for scrutiny and infiltration. I ask my audience to look deeply at themselves, and I put my body in difficult relationships to theirs. Rather than shy away from my body as something that is overrepresented, take it to its limits both as and beyond what it looks like.


The most important way I have found to foment real vulnerability is by processing my family history through my voice and movement. My grandfather was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, and my father emigrated here from Lebanon during the civil war. I grew up in working-class, Bible Belt, rural Texas. my father was a brown guy with an accent who threw papers, and my mother was a nice white lady with her artistic white kids trying to keep up with the joneses. My family occupied a liminal space between white, Christian, upstanding citizens, and drug-dealing, war-torn, remittance-sending immigrants. 


This history complicates my relationship to how I should perform. So, I deal with performance as the arena wherein I contend with the different selves and the conflicting worlds I inhabit. My work thrives in spaces between right and wrong, clear and obscure, structure and oblivion."


Lorene Bouboushian during Beast Conjuring, at Mothership in Woodstock. Photo by Amelia Iaia

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