Soundwave NEXT: Past and Future Forms

Past and Future Forms is a performance with individual and collaborative sets that weave through each other initiated by interdisciplinary-sound artist Sholeh Asgary with interdisciplinary video artist-scholar Dena Al-Adeeb, visual-performance artist Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and dance-sound-performance artist Leyya Mona Tawil. Through the lens of SWANA (South-West Asia, North Africa) experimentalism in sound and performance, the project explores cyclical time and the optics of visibility in relation to the body as a past and future form, shaped by foreign policy, crude oil and water.

The virtual Fall 2020 presentation of Past and Future Forms utilizes the body as an additive and subtractive element through video-animation, sound and movement. Using the Epic of Gilgamesh as a departure point, this performance is an excavation of the symbolic physical language that is to culminate in the final future.


Sholeh Asgary looks out calmly against a blurred background of nature and trees

Sholeh Asgary

Sholeh Asgary is an Iranian-born interdisciplinary sound artist whose immersive works, performances, and audience-participatory scores implicate the viewer-participant into future mythological excavations, bridging large swathes of time and history through water, water clocks, crude oil, movement, light, imaging, voice, and sound. Asgary has exhibited and performed at such places as ARoS Kunstmuseum, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Tiger Strikes Asteroid NY, and Minnesota Street Project, and has received support through numerous residencies and awards, some of which include UCLA Art Sci (2021), MASS MoCA (2021), Headlands Center for the Arts, and an Emergency Grant from The Foundation for Contemporary Art (2021)

Dena A Al-Adeeb

Dena A. Al-Adeeb is an Iraqi born scholar, artist, and cultural worker. As a practicing artist, Al-Adeeb creates performative works dedicated to participatory and socially engaged art, and collaborative projects. Her artwork investigates the relationship among the politics, poetics, and aesthetics of mapping collective memory, refugee narratives, and war-torn architecture and geographies. Al-Adeeb’s research focuses on global war geographies and oil economies as they manifest through infrastructure, material and visual culture, and collective memory. She is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled: The Architecture Of War: The Destructions of Iraq And The Rise Of Petro-cultural Imaginaries In The Persian Gulf Region. A current Mellon Artist and Practitioner Fellow at the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration, a Visiting Scholar at the Department of American Studies at the University of California, Davis and Senior Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Studies at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Her work has also been exhibited internationally at such places as Mana Contemporary, Museum of Tunisia, Art 13: London: Modern and Contemporary Art Fair, and the Arab American National Museum.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (b. Damascus, 1990) is a visual artist, performer and curator. Bhutto’s work explores complex histories of colonialism that are exacerbated by contemporary international politics and in the process unpacks the intersections of queerness and Islam through a multi-media practice.

Leyya Mona Tawil

Leyya Mona Tawil [Lime Rickey International] is an artist working with sound, performance, and hybrid transmissions. Tawil is a Syrian, Palestinian, American engaged in the world as such. Her work has been presented throughout the states, Europe and the Arab world. Tawil was the 2020 ISSUE Project Room Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellow and a 2018 Saari Fellow (Finland). Her work 'Lime Rickey International’s Future Faith' was nominated for a 2019 Bessie Award in Music. In 2021, Tawil was a resident artist with Wysing Art Centre/British Council (UK) and the Sharjah Art Foundation (UAE). She is director of TAC, a venue in Oakland; and Arab.AMP – a platform for experimental art and music from the SWANA diaspora.


This event is part of Soundwave NEXT, a new partnership between Gray Area and Soundwave, two veteran San Francisco arts organizations to explore the future of sound. The program invites curators, artists, producers, and collectives to present new performance-based works or productions based in sound. This program seeks to answer what is the future of sound as a construct and ask “What’s next?” for the medium as it relates to our collective social, cultural, technological and/or political experience.

Fall/Winter 2020
October 15: "To Hear the Earth Before the End of the World (Act I-iii ; Earth and Sky)"
By LaMont Hamilton

November 20: "Past and Future Forms"
Lead Artist Sholeh Asgary with Dena Al-Adeeb, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and Leyya Mona Tawil

December 10: "Re:Seed"
Lead Artist Bert Yip with Jeffrey Yip

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