Asia Society Presents the World Premiere of Ibrahim Quraishi's '5 Streams'

Acclaimed conceptual artist Ibrahim Quraishi boldly reinterprets religious and cultural texts from the Islamic and Hindu traditions

Wednesday-Thursday, January 18-19, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, January 20, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 21, 3:00 p.m.* and 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 22, 3:00 p.m.

*Discussion to follow Saturday, January 21, 3:00 p.m. performance.

Asia Society kicks off its 50th Anniversary season with 5 Streams, a new cross-media work conceived by internationally renowned conceptual artist and director, Ibrahim Quraishi. Commissioned by the Asia Society in association with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), this performance fuses movement, electronics, video, text, and cutting-edge technology to explore archetypes that have shaped our histories and cultural identities and are particularly relevant to our contemporary realities.

"No other influential theatre director besides Wilson... has created a style that is sustained across continents in the work of younger artists." - Performing Arts Journal

5 Streams offers audiences a full-sensory journey through South Asia's shared realities, mythologies, and cultural identities. Explosive sounds and vocals, intense Kathak-inspired dance sequences, video streaming, live percussion, and powerful visuals combine to create a hypnotic and immersive performance in which actors appear as installations; costumes appear as architecture; video projections bring forth colors in shapes; sound trembles through the body before it is heard; and the audience is invited to wander and meditate in an interactive installation of synthetic trees with each its own interactive sonic mix.

Inspired by the roiling physical and cultural geography of South Asia - a region marked by the 5 tributaries of the Indus River, identified by its 5 core nations (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) and influenced by both the 5 pillars of Islam and the 5 principles of Hinduism - 5 Streams is Quraishi's personal rumination on a world torn apart by conflict and brought together by shared histories.

"In creating 5 Streams, Quraishi boldly reinterprets the religious and cultural texts from within the Islamic and Hindu traditions," said Rachel Cooper, Director of Cultural Programs and Performing Arts at Asia Society.

The work sets to explore the complex and often-conflicting power relationships between humans, authority, and the sacred in three distinct "Visions." "Vision I" uses Anarkali, a tragic court romance of Mughal India, to speak of the oppression against women. The philosophical Indian epic Bhagavad-Gita is the inspiration behind "Vision II," in which Krishna's battlefield discussion with Arjuna examines the role of duty and the individual in times of war. "Vision III" draws from the great 12th-century Sufi philosopher Ibn al-Arabi's mystical treatise, Who Knoweth Himself, to explore the unity between humans and God and the necessity of bringing back the individual into the sacred and "allowing it to breathe."

To realize the complex themes in this work, Quraishi has brought together an international team of artists, including composers and creators of an interactive sonic installation, Norscq and Paul Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky; video artist, Marc Perroud a.k.a. t-zèd; space and costume designer, Xavier Hool; and Kathak choreographer and dancer, Parul Shah. Other performers include Fawzia Afzal-Khan (voice), Arthur Aviles (movement), Nicolas Lelievre (live percussion/music), Rajika Puri (voice/movement), Rosa Sanchez (movement performance), and Subarna Kumar Thapa (movement performance). (See attached bios).

This performance will take place at the Asia Society and Museum, located on 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, New York City. Ticket prices for the performance are $20 for Asia Society members/students with ID/seniors and $25 for nonmembers. For tickets and information, call (212) 517-ASIA or visit Members of the press interested in the performances should contact Asia Society's public relations department at (212) 327-9271 or, or Isabelle Deconinck from La PR at (212) 727-7662 or

5 Streams was made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts; Multi-Arts Production Fund; The Greenwall Foundation; the Islamic World Arts Initiative, generously supported by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; and étant donnés, the French-American Fund for the Performing Arts, a Program of FACE; Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College; R. Douglass Rice; and Cynthia Elliot. Performing Arts at Asia Society are supported by the Doris Duke Foundation Charitable Foundation and Helen and Will Little.

Asia Society 
Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, the Asia Society is an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening relationships and deepening understanding among the peoples of Asia and the United States. The Asia Society presents a wide range of public programs, including major art exhibitions, performances, lectures, international conferences, and K-12 educational initiatives about Asia. Headquartered in New York City, the organization has regional centers in Hong Kong, Houston, Manila, Los Angeles, Melbourne, San Francisco, Shanghai and Washington, D.C.

Compagnie Faim de Siècle 
Founded by Ibrahim Quraishi and primarily based in New York and Paris, Compagnie Faim de Siècle, is a performance/installation "collective" working extensively in Munich, Sarajevo, Paris, Quebec City, Nantes, St. Ouen, New Delhi, Kyoto, Montbilliard, Tokyo, and Mannheim. Most of the work is focused on the interplay between dynamic visuals, performance, and trans-active installations based on the deconstruction of text. Since its inception in 1998, members of Compagnie Faim de Siècle have also actively engaged in creating long-term, community-based projects, workshops, multimedia residencies, lectures, and project research either in the Bronx, Tel Aviv, Kathmandu, St. Paul les Dax, Amman, Dushanbe, Rabat, Cairo, Akko, East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Belgrade, Brashov, Tangiers, Zagreb, Mostar, Bucharest, Sofia, Amristar, Alexandria, and Lahore. (