Gelare Khoshgozaran, a Los Angeles–based multidisciplinary artist, gave her initial performance of “UNdocumentary” as part of the welcome to what we took from is the state exhibition at Queens Museum in New York City. This performance entailed a reading, by the artist and audience members, of Khoshgozaran's original declaration of asylum to the US government. When this produced empathetic and, in Khoshgozaran's words, “depressed” reactions from the audience, Khoshgozaran altered the performance, rewriting the document to reflect how she understands her life trajectory, as opposed to what queer asylum seekers are expected to produce to become subjects of and legible to empire. The next iteration of the performance is a refusal of legibility and empathy for a life narrative she, in some ways, lived, but simultaneously did not identify with. This article argues that the revised performance of “UNdocumentary” interrupts heteronormative space and time, crafting a queer otherwise world where relationality is pushed out of the realm of identification, inviting a bond forged through opacity rather than the violence of transparency.
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Research Article| October 01 2023
Refusing Empathy: Queer Racialized Life and Death in Diasporic Performance
GLQ (2023) 29 (4): 427–451.
Tahereh Aghdasifar; Refusing Empathy: Queer Racialized Life and Death in Diasporic Performance. GLQ 1 October 2023; 29 (4): 427–451. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-10773977
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