Residency Period: 18/Jul – 24/Jul 2017 + 2018 (Dates to be confirmed)
Zarina Muhammad is an independent researcher, curator, arts practitioner and educator based in Singapore. She has held an enduring interest in occult medicine, possessing spirits, anthropomorphic entities, chtonic and seafaring deities, magico-religious belief systems, ritualistic ceremonies, sacred sites and the intersections between the worlds of the otherworldly, invisible, material and the contested ideologies and dynamics of global modernity.
She lectures mostly on art/cultural history with a focus on ethnographic and historical studies on Southeast Asia at LASALLE College of the Arts. Currently, Zarina is working on a multidisciplinary research project on cultural translations pertaining to Southeast Asian ritual magic, sacred sites and the tracing of mythological roots, translations and divergences of the feared, desired and revered (supernatural) body in Maritime and Mainland Southeast Asia.
At present, her research is being developed into a series of of performative and collaborative works that deconstruct and creatively confront histories, texts, definitions and (mis)representations associated with these bodies of knowledge and polycosmologies. How do these mythic narratives and figures offer a looking glass to the social, material, political, spiritual and transcendental realities of this region and of these times? In the various incarnations of her work, she is particularly interested in the intergenerational and interregional translations, appropriations, adaptations and sometimes contradictory, anachronistic and multi-headed quality of these narratives. So far she has presented her work in Indonesia, Cambodia, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.
During her time at extantation, she intents to look into the ghost/spirit dance traditions in Northern Thailand as part of a broader study on comparative embodied performances in Asia.