performing zomia

Artists .x. living .x. resilience

Nov.04th – 12th 2019

The festival performing Zomia is a temporary artistic platform focusing on diversity providing models of artistic and social activities and organisation beyond „nation” and related nationalistic vocabularies. It ´s orientation is influenced by the thoughtscape of „Zomia”, a word coined by historian Willem van Schendel and further elaborated by anthropologist James Scott, speaking about the hilly regions in Asia as a „ resort of counter-history of the evolution of human civilization”, a place, „where state power has made itself felt only weakly, if at all” .
We relate to the verb to zomia (Mai Na M. Lee) to point towards practices as exploration of methods and active approaches to reach out towards a „Zomia of the mind”. This utopia serves as program: to develop and apply queer and decolonizing thought and strategies in performative artistic assemblages operating beyond the analog and digital mapping tools of the (nation) state and relate them to the realms of the social. These narratives do not neglect urban contemporaneity and it´s technologies, much rather try to bring them back to human scale and formulate alternatives to a predominant philosophy of neoliberalism and the nation state.
Contemporary Performance and it´s manifold and transdisciplinary strategies are treated as a complex of questions triggering further questions much more than just answers. We see ZOMIA art as an expression of decentralization. As curators we propose an Asian-European exchange and invite artists not assigned to nations but free of those connotations. We propose the concept to rather use ecosystems as rivers as a matrix to select the artists for the first edition: finding them along the regions of two significant rivers: Mekong and Danube.
Performing Zomia
How do artists develop resilience on a daily basis towards authorities, lobbies, capital, art-market, corrupt social classes?
Performing Zomia consists of a set of residencies, daily indoor and outdoor performances, a TV show, and a theory program consisting of workshops and lectures. The activities are framed by related cooking.

The festival aims at a collaboration between
Medo Art (, Austria
The University of Applied Arts Vienna (, Austria
Art Quarter Budapest (, Hungary

Art students and artists from Austria and Hungary get the opportunity to join a one-week intensive program of working with foreign professional performers, get coaching and theory input and develop their own take on performance.