Ashkan Sepahvand is reading for a DPhil in Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art and St. John’s College, University of Oxford, where he is a Clarendon-AHRC Scholar, with support from the Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Programme.
I am a writer and an artistic researcher. My practice is text-based and highly collaborative, taking form as publications, performances, situations, and study. My doctoral project departs from the AIDS crisis, translating its times, places, and bodies into a "future (im)perfect" mode – that the crisis will have been – where the aim is to disrupt, displace, and transform queer narrativity beyond historical visibility, geographical legibility, and linear temporality. Specifically, I focus on the 1977 novel "The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions" by author, educator, and activist Larry Mitchell, using the text's imaginaries of disease, disaster, resistance, and revolution to articulate a speculative practice of queer translation. By exploring the possibilities of translating and transmitting his-story otherwise (as my-story), the project generates poetic, sonic, and somatic interventions for re-imagining the whens and wheres of "the crisis," that is, for moving beyond the "end" of the world to ask: what are the ends of worlds?
Previous projects include the exhibition Odarodle – an imaginary their_story of naturepeoples, 1535-2017 (Schwules Museum* Berlin, 2017), the book series Elements for a World: Stone, Wood, Sky, Water, Fire (Sursock Museum, Beirut, 2016) and the co-edited volume Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray (Haus der Kulturen der Welt/The MIT Press, 2015). Ongoing collaborations include the institute for incongruous translation with Natascha Sadr Haghighian, with long-term investigations such as seeing studies (2010-12) and Carbon Theater (2016-ongoing), and most recently, sssSsssssssss with Virgil B/G Taylor, an intimate vibe for sharing, studying, and strengthening together.
Some of my writing can be found here: https://oxford.academia.edu/AshkanSepahvand