Episode 004: Muyassar Kurdi

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“It’s either life or death for me. This is the kind of urgency I feel like I want to bring into my performance and to my practice. There’s a sense of urgency. It’s either life or death but I choose life. For so long I always thought death. I’m not here to brood. My past is my past but I am who I am now. That transformation is what’s important, it’s about that turning point. It’s not about the resolution necessarily, it’s just about the transformation.” – Muyassar Kurdi

Muyassar Kurdi joins us on Signifying Something today. She is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist. Her work encompasses sound, extended vocal technique, performance art, movement, photography, and film. She stirs a plethora of emotions from her audience members through vicious noise, ritualistic chants, and meditative movements. Kurdi studied voice and dance with legendary vocalist, dancer and recording artist Meredith Monk via The House Foundation, as well as learning the Japanese dance tradition of Butoh with Tadashi Endo, director of the Butoh Center MAMU.

Steve Flato speaks with her today, and learns the importance of wholeness, connection, vulnerability, and honesty in her work. The piece showcased today is called MACHINE/BODY: Intersections and Variations (Part 2) and was performed in Berlin in February 2017 during her residency at Liebig12 with the piece being played at Vierte Welt. Muyassar’s piece involves a full body electronic device that senses movement and light and transforms it into sound, a crackle box that responds to touch, sculptural elements, and movement/dance.

The importance of movement and engaging all of the senses is a vital part to Muyassar’s work. Interdependent dualities are a recurring theme, as evidenced in the MACHINE/BODY project. She and Steve discuss the relation of art to her life, engaging in a philosophical talk that touches on music as a healing force, growth and the transformative experience, the importance of honesty and vulnerability in art, the myth that one has to suffer for their art, and past experiences that have helped her evolve.

Upcoming performances:

*May 11th- Ka Baird: Espylacopa (A reversal in three acts), Issue Project Room

*June 23rd- duo with Nicholas Jozwiak (voice, movement, cello) at the Rubin Museum of Art, NYC at the opening of the sound exhibition.

*July 9th- Chicago Cultural Center


Muyassar Kurdi’s web-site

Meredith Monk


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