Formulations of Assembly


How can strangers act together when we live in worlds in which so many forms of solidarity are diminishing? In Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly Judith Butler writes that assembly “can be an embodied form of calling into question the inchoate and powerful dimensions of reigning notions of the political”. The act of assembling in a piazza, theatre, or park can manifest the understanding that a situation is shared, but this shared situation has limitations, especially, in a world where shootings and surveillance destabilise the power in demonstrating one’s voice with others or alone. Formulations of Assembly, facilitated by Zoya Sardashti, will question this dilemma. This project is in direct dialogue with Butler’s text in Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly.

The next workshop-as-event will take place at Mare Culturale  on the following dates:
September 29 & 30 10:00-18:00
November 17 & 18 10:00-18:00
November 24 & 25 10:00-18:00
Artist Statement
Formulations of Assembly is a response to a fear: in any event our lives are subject to precarity and violence. Through nonviolent movement and choreography, my practice-based research explores how to demonstrate vulnerability and empathy in a world where being subject to violence and/or witnessing violence is an everyday reality. My intention is to develop Formulations of Assembly in a safe and inclusive space, where strangers can express collective fears and hopes through movement and dialogue, in order to generate new forms of alliance and possibilities for assembly. We will use performance as a platform to independently and collectively call into question what is considered and not considered liveable lives, thus creating new forms of community engagement where diverse voices inspire nonviolent realities and enact new ways of being conscious.
Embodying Limitations


I have no accurate understanding of time and space.  Do you?

I can anticipate your movements and words, but I cannot perform your movements and words precisely. If I try to perform your movements and words I must be physically close to you, but we will never be close enough. Sometimes I follow you and sometimes you follow me. By chance we will believe we performed the same movements, if only temporarily. When I follow you, I give up (self) awareness.

Do you experience a similar sensation?

Why do we desire unity if our movement and speech will never be together?

Between States

Not speaking with you, for you, or through you. Not speaking for myself, about myself, or of myself.


Consider Formulations of Assembly a series of exercises, or non-repressive actions to sustain bodily awareness. During the workshop people will be invited to move and speak together, exploring exercises that resemble those in performance-based practices. Although theatre and dance training are used as methodologies, I seek to show the limitations of being in solidarity through performance as a way to embody impossibilities, not failures. This exploration (performing limitations/impossibilities) serves as a point of departure for discovering movements and moments that exist between these two states being, such as being together and separate.

On November 24th, 2017, Formulations of Assembly was held at Casa del Popolo San Quirico, Florence in collaboration with Gianluca Conti Bernini and Francesco Paoli. Documentation (video, audio files. and text) will be shared upon request. Please email for more information.