Directory of Portrayals is open-form opera that includes performances, exhibitions, and text. The work draws its structure from a libretto based on an ongoing, online exchange between myself and my sister, a conservative muslim and english teacher, who lives in Iran. Though we bear a striking resemblance, we have never been able to meet in person before 2018. As this relationship and its context has expanded in the last few years, so too has the opera—its various media are interposed between our untranslatable, often conflicting, geographical and cultural narratives. Complicated by its digital formatting, my relationship with my sibling has informed the opera’s experiments in narrativity and performance which speak to the current conditions of self, of intimacy and of knowledge—beyond material borders and at the limits of subjective projection and interchange.  This story and its component parts play out against the backdrop of its own production, within which the opera moves between an elusive, speculative totality of an imagined full production, and its disparate, artifactual parts: post-dramatic monologues taken from the actual text exchange, musical scores, a multi-year production diary, scenographic representations and the various media from my dialog with my sister.  Expanding and deconstructing limits of autobiography, my roles as actor, director, architect, and composer are interspersed with historical texts and AI translation. The final form of this work will include its various iterative performances, the libretto as a work of experimental auto-fiction, a 20-minute opera-film, and a body of scenographic painting and sculpture.

Iterations of this work have been performed at Swisss Institute, The Kitchen, Villa Empain, National Sawdust, and residencies supporting the development of this work have included Boghossian Foundation, Watermill Center, and  80WSE gallery NYU. The libretto will be published as a work of experimental auto-fiction edited by Annie Godfrey Larmon. 

2018     Flesh Format 2 (from Directory of Portrayals) 
             
 Swiss Institute, New York, NY

2017     Directory of Portrayals
              The Kitchen, New York, NY

2016     Directory of Portrayals 1 & 2
              Villa Empain, Brussels, BE

2016     Flesh, Format 1 (from Directory of Portrayals)
             
National Sawdust

Learn more about how you can support this project. Previous support has been generously provided by the Boghossian Foundation, the Watermill Center & the Spoken Glass Production Fund.

 
 2017 @ Paula Court

2017 @ Paula Court

 2017 © Paula Court

2017 © Paula Court

 © Sahra Motalebi, Courtesy of the Artist

© Sahra Motalebi, Courtesy of the Artist

 Courtesy Swiss Institute, © Daniel Perez

Courtesy Swiss Institute, © Daniel Perez

 © Sahra Motalebi, Courtesy of the artist.

© Sahra Motalebi, Courtesy of the artist.

 Prelude NY Festival © 2016 Paula Court

Prelude NY Festival © 2016 Paula Court