Ava Ansari is a transmedia poet, transcultural curator, and yogi who practices with the sensual, institutional, and digital bodies. Their practice lives at the intersections of choreographic, linguistic, musical, and spatial composition; heterotopic healing and radical cyber celebration; and translingual embodiment and bodies' free navigation.
Since 2010, Ava has been working with telepresence healing technologies and distanced communities to diversify the fixated notions of poetic expression and governance. “The Back Room” collective for critical dialogue and virtual poetics with hubs in cities in Iran and the US (Doris Duke Foundation’s Building Bridges Awardee, 2010-14); “Subway” app for poetic public movement beyond preventing laws (International Journal of Arts & Technology, Volume 7, 2014); and “Conducting Studies” processor for poetic mapping (International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression 2015, International Symposium on Electronic Arts 2014) are examples of their early projects.
Ava creates public interventions and tactical media that prioritize multilingual and multilocation performances and compositions of poetry and public policy. Through the combination of movement, voice, text, sound, imagery, space design, and cultural organization, Ava creates urban-digital states and processes that enhance physical alignment and poetic embodiment across the earth. “G—RAY AREA,” musical poetry in three chapters (“For Your Eyes Only,” University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities, 2021); “Water Prayer” ceremony (REFEST Festival, CultureHub, NYC); “They Will Carry Us!” video poem (”Radical Remedies,” Detroit Narrative Agency (DNA), Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), 2021); “How to make a bouquet in a voting box? ritual for delicacy during presidential elections in Iran and US (2012-Present, Trade School Festival, Philadelphia Thing 2022) are examples of their recent public performances and exhibitions.
Their collaborative projects, workshops, and public programs are created in organic and slow modes that work with poetry as process with queer, nonbinary, transgender, nonconforming gender, Black, Indigenous, and Non-English friends, neighbors, poets, artists, musicians, healers, and organizers to revitalize and circulate ancestral healing modalities lost through intergenerational experiences of forced physical, environmental, and sexual movement, cultural reappropriation, and gaslighting. Through ritualistic and linguistic modes of poetic communication, they work to remove pain and cultivate celebratory memories of healing self, land, and senses of belonging across the earth.
Ava is the Founding Director of POETIC SOCIETIES Transmedia Poetry & Healing Technologies Network for body-conscious modes of expression and governance (Waawiiyatanong/Detroit), Curatorial Advisor of MUTEK AE + Analog Room (Dubai), and Vice-Chair of Development & Partnerships of Women in Music (WIM, Detroit Chapter). They have previously served as Faculty Curator of the Detroit Chapter of Science Gallery Global in collaboration with the Michigan State University Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology (Detroit, 2017-18), Curatorial Manager of Art Jameel US Tour + Culturunners (NYC, 2014-15), Co-curator of the Armory Show: Special Projects (NYC, 2015), Curatorial Advisor of The Brown Institute for Media Innovation at the Stanford University's School of Engineering and Columbia Journalism School (NYC, 2013-14), Director of Exhibitions & Sales at Shirin Gallery (NYC, 2012-13), Marketing Consultant at Aperture Magazine (NYC, 2012), Director of Sales & Exhibitions at Basement Gallery (Dubai, 2008-10), Assistant Curator at Silkroad Gallery (Tehran, 2006-08).
Examples of their latest participatory and public art projects include "TOUCHED" Audiovisual Gardens & Somatic-Legal Hotline" which was launched at the Trade School Festival in Philadelphia in June 2022 and “REMOooOTE: Detroit-Palestine” which opened the JAM3A Music Festival of the Arab American National Museum in September 2021. The year-long production included collaborations between poets, musicians, organizers, healers, dancers, and filmmakers in both lands during the active war in Palestine and resulted in a series of private and public poetic healing sessions and a 30-minute experimental video poem in Arabic, Persian, Anishinaabemowin, and English.
Ava holds an MA in ArtsPolitics (New York University, Tisch School for the Arts, 2011) and a BA in Media Studies (Allameh Tabataba’i University, Communication School, Tehran, 2004). They have worked in numerous contemporary art curatorial and educational roles in the US and Southwest Asia since 2007.