Chronophilia/Chronophobia | Maryam Monalisa Gharavi

In conjunction with The Haptic: Textures of Performance •A special issue of Women & Performance guest-edited by Rizvana Bradley •

chrono chrono - still image
chrono chrono - still image

Chronophilia/Chronophobia by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi


Chronophilia/Chronophobia emerged from a poem/script that I wrote blindfolded. It loosely experiments with surrealist automatic writing practices, the use and subversion of meditative ritual, histories of labor, and critical theories of the attention economy. As a work with many moving parts, it was a challenge that enmeshed in my own desire to circumvent a gallery setting and engage with a public body not initially gathered for the purpose of experiencing art. Around 80 people wearing handmade blindfolds took part in the first performance in 2013. The instructions asked of them simultaneously nothing and everything. Do whatever you want with your body, do whatever you want with your thoughts, but be here. The blindfolds served a dual purpose in the initial conception: to both negate the fear that participants’ faces were being watched for their reaction, and to alight aural and linguistic senses while depriving the visual. The performance can be recreated by anyone anywhere by either playing the audio track or having the script read aloud while the participant is blindfolded.

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(fabric blindfolds and audio, 4:30 minutes)

(not) working (not) eating (not) walking (not) dancing (not) typing (not) running (not) speaking (not) texting (not) hurrying (not) laughing (not) touching (not) feeding (not) cleaning (not) counting (not) moving (not) flossing (not) clapping (not) pushing (not) baking (not) organizing (not) saving (not) deleting (not) drinking (not) writing (not) bending (not) dribbling (not) laundering (not) pinning (not) cutting (not) drying (not) gluing (not) photographing (not) teaching (not) painting (not) following (not) exposing (not) commenting (not) damaging (not) blowing (not) skipping (not) caressing (not) burping (not) weighing (not) browsing (not) frying (not) window-shopping (not) searching (not) idling (not) competing (not) looking (not) sleeping (not) sailing (not) punching (not) brushing (not) waking (not) pulling (not) lighting (not) carrying (not) locking (not) turning (not) promoting (not) driving (not) kissing (not) blinking (not) agreeing (not) waving (not) bathing (not) hoarding (not) snoring (not) jumping (not) arguing (not) climbing (not) sliding (not) lifting (not) putting (not) standing (not) identifying (not) listing (not) biting (not) licking (not) clutching (not) drafting (not) sucking (not) rearranging (not) filing (not) printing (not) humming (not) paper-clipping (not) serenading (not) dusting (not) chewing (not) salivating (not) smiling (not) somersaulting (not) praying (not) ironing (not) crying (not) accelerating (not) grasping (not) darkening (not) correcting (not) anticipating (not) frowning (not) dressing (not) initiating (not) applying (not) healing (not) catching (not) bandaging (not) imitating (not) coloring (not) parking (not) debating (not) undressing (not) car-riding (not) wiping (not) stapling (not) extinguishing (not) flying (not) measuring (not) spraying (not) encouraging (not) adjusting (not) selling (not) collaborating (not) telephoning (not) responding (not) seeking (not) emailing (not) calibrating (not) indexing (not) annotating (not) adopting (not) whistling (not) scrubbing (not) hand-holding (not) squinting (not) shoveling (not) circling (not) blushing (not) negotiating (not) icing (not) gargling (not) directing (not) talking (not) cheering (not) tallying (not) suspecting but so being


Script/live performance written and directed by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi; vocal performance by Garrett Allen; audio recorded by Alex Auriema. Private commission.

Maryam Monalisa Gharavi is an artist, writer, and theorist. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Film & Visual Studies from Harvard University. She is an editor at The New Inquiry.