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The Myth of Layla

November 22, 2016

In light of the U.S. 2016 presidential election, NURTUREart presents The Myth of Layla, a participatory multimedia performance by Iranian-American artist Amy Khoshbin.

Khoshbin’s performance—about political ideology, celebrity-obsessed media, and an Iranian-American activist named Layla—is an excerpt from the work with Ryann Weir, Maxwell Cosmo Cramer, Azikiwe MohammedMatthew Kohn, Michael Clemow, and Yuliya Tsukerman.

After the performance, the artist, her dramaturg Yuliya Tsukerman, and her sound designer Michael Clemow will host a talkback about the piece. Open dialogue will include what it means to make political work in our current climate and how we can open up and continue conversations moving forward.

Admission is free and open to the public.

The Myth of Layla is set in a not-too-distant future when a big-brother media conglomerate called The Network runs the country’s government and is at war with a fictionalized Middle Eastern country akin to Iran. The leader of The Network is a reality show host who employs media-manipulation tactics such as fear of the Other, violence, and propaganda presented as reasonable safety-measures. The Host of The Network is inviting Layla and NUTUREart audience members to participate on their new reality show, Activists in Sexy Solidarity (ASS).

Taking satirical cues from the absurd structures of reality TV, Khoshbin presents a backdrop of projected videos and outrageous colorful costumes. Viewers become part of the piece, captured by running cameras and screened during the performance. Khoshbin creates a dramatic parallel universe that—vividly demonstrating the dangers of media control and the necessity of questioning the content consumption—echoes America’s contemporary socio-political state.

Amy Khoshbin is a Brooklyn-based artist merging performance, video, collage, costume and sound to examine our individual and collective compulsion to create, transform, and sometimes destroy the stories of who we are, who we think we are, and who we think we should be. She produces media and mythologies using humor and a handmade aesthetic to throw a counterpunch at the high-definition, profit-generating codes and signals that American audiences are accustomed to consuming. She has shown her solo and collaborative work at  Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Abrons Arts Center, Mana Contemporary, The Invisible Dog Arts Center, The Stone, and festivals such as River To River, South by Southwest, and MakerFaire. She has completed residencies at The Watermill Center, Mana Contemporary, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Residency 2014–15, Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada, Team Effort! in Glasgow, Scotland, and at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She received a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Artist Community Engagement Grant and is one of Creative Capital’s On Our Radar recipients for The Myth of Layla. Khoshbin has bachelor’s degrees in Film and Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. She has collaborated with Laurie Anderson, Karen Finley, Tina Barney, and poets Anne Carson and Bob Currie among others. For more information, visit www.tinyscissors.com