Ashkan Sepahvand is an artistic researcher based in Berlin. His performative discourse practice engages with how knowledge-forms are sensorially translated and experienced, taking shape as publications, installations, exhibitions, institutional interventions, and interdisciplinary collaborations. Long-term research interests trace associations between histories and imaginations of the body, the senses, sexuality, nature, colonialism, cosmology, celebration, futurity, queerness, collectivity, and ritual.
Previously, he has worked as a research fellow at the Schwules Museum* where he curated the exhibition “Odarodle - an imaginary their_story of naturepeoples, 1535-2017” and at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, where as part of The Anthropocene Project he co-edited the publication “Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain, Vapor, Ray” (MIT Press, 2015) as well as co-curating “A Matter Theater”.
Since 2013 he co-organizes the technosexual reading circle, an informal social media platform for self-organized study on themes related to the construction of the desiring self under late capitalism, with physical gatherings in Berlin, Beirut, and Tehran.
Together with Natascha Sadr Haghighian, they founded the institute for incongruous translation, a format for their artistic collaborations including “seeing studies” (2010-2012) and “Carbon Theater (2016-ongoing). From 2006-2009 he was part of the artistic research network Reloading Images, where together with Kaya Behkalam and Azin Feizabadi he co-conceptualized cross-cultural arts education experiments in the form of “temporary schools” in Tehran and Damascus.
His work and writings have been exhibited at dOCUMENTA (13), Sharjah Biennials X and 13, Gwangju Biennale 11, ICA London, Ashkal Alwan, Sursock Museum, Al-Ma’mal Foundation, amongst others. He has published pieces in e-flux, PHILE International Journal for Desire and Curiosity, Bidoun Magazine, …ment journal, and MacGuffin.
He has taught seminars and workshops at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen, Royal Academy of Art Copenhagen, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Vassar College, International Art Academy of Palestine, VCUarts Qatar, and Homeworks Space Program Beirut
His educational vision is centered on working with text, its delayed understandings, and the resonant transmissions of knowledge as it appears in unexpected places and times. Exercises around reading, writing, speaking, and performing are developed in order to articulate strategies for incorporating discourse into individual artistic practices. Combining informal, improvisatory communalism with a commitment to training in critical research methodologies, concepts such as “translation” and “study” are expanded to allow for a variety of interdisciplinary and multimedia engagements, while giving space for the unknown, the idiosyncratic, and the incongruous. Collaboration habits and collective conversation are cultivated, with an insistence on voicing questions, doubts, and concerns as well as an emphasis on making personal, embodied connections to abstract concepts.