I’m an artist and creative facilitator. I make projects.
My digital and performance works have been presented throughout the US, Asia, Australia, and Europe, and my essays, poems and interviews appear in numerous books and journals. I regularly receive fellowships, grants, and awards and am invited to present public lectures and workshops.
Improvisation is the foundation of my work. Materials include sound and movement, text and image, system, interface, interaction, and community. Genres are:
Performance + Technology
Interdisciplinary + Public Practice
Collaboration and co-creation are at the heart of everything I make, teach, and share. Longtime collaborators include Maria Palazzi (animation/design), William Forsythe (choreographer), Oded Huberman (interactive theater design), Bebe Miller (choreographer), Byron AuYong (composer), Vita Berezina Blackburn (animation/motion capture), Marc Ainger (sonic arts/computer music), Laura Rodriguez (intermedia artist), and Michael Morris (queer ecology).
Since 2004, I serve as director for dance and technology, professor and mentor for interdisciplinary practice at Ohio State’s Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design and Department of Dance where I co-founded the Motion Lab to foster innovations in 21st century education, inclusive pedagogy, creative research, and performance technology.
I mentor artists in interdisciplinary research and generative archives. With my partner Oded Huberman, I develop, manage, and consult on multimedia research and facility and curriculum design for innovation in technology and embodied practices. Our clients include Barnard College, University of Alabama, Scripps College, and the University of Southern California. I serve on the Board of Advisors for the ATLAS Institute, University of Colorado.
My work is presented in major venues and festivals including the Chicago Humanities Festival, Centre Pompidou, Sadler’s Wells London, Hebbel Theater Berlin, Taipei Arts Festival, PACT Zollverein, Spring Dance Utrecht, Wexner Center for the Arts, Ruhr 2010 European Cultural Capital, ISEA, The Joyce, SIGGRAPH, TEDx Columbus, and Brainpickings, has toured internationally as an Excellence Project of the Goethe Institute, wins numerous awards, features, and citations in books, journals and press and finds its largest community and ongoing audience online.
The best things I’ve ever been called are paradigm-shifting and genre-bending.
I love it that my students call me spacemaker.
Norah Zuniga Shaw is an artist, performer and creative director. Called “wildly creative” by the NYTimes, her work is exhibited worldwide and has won numerous awards and features. Major projects include Synchronous Objects with William Forsythe and TWO with Bebe Miller, Dancing Life for Oxford University Press, Climate Gathering, a transmedia performance ritual, and Livable Futures. She publishes, presents and consults frequently on performance + technology topics.
Ancestors and guides…
Intersectional, intercultural, queer and feminist, my guides and chosen ancestors include bell hooks and Audre Lorde who give me courage to be ferocious and live ‘a love ethic.’ I am inspired by the worlds and utterances of Joan Jonas, Diamanda Galas, and PJ Harvey with their rage and compassion, and comfort with discomfort. Verdensteatret, Forced Entertainment, Siti Co, and Dumb Type’s approach to the ensemble and collective inform my work. Okwui Okpokwasili, Michelle Ellsworth, and Jaamil Kosoko’s calls me in to radical presence and transparency. Blast Theory’s digital public practice, Sam Green’s “live documentaries,” and the visualizations / workshops / performative lectures of Edward Tufte are constant references.
With a background in choreography and environmental science and deep experience in research, I work in a blend of mediums and genres. Queer ecology, afrofuturism and posthumanism permeate my thinking thanks to Donna Haraway, N.K. Jemison, Katherine Hayles, Octavia Butler, adrienne maree brown, and Andre M. Zachery.
The Dada, Situationist, and Fluxus movements are important antecedents to any participatory, mixed media work as are the irreverence and intermedia instigations of Dick Higgins, Nam June Paik and Marshall McLuhan. Liz Lerman, Turning the Wheel, and Augusto Boal influence my approach to community-based performance and social practice.
My biological ancestors are farmers and artists; many lost and frustrated fiddlers in the hills of Ireland, the mountains of Germany and eventually the hollows of Kentucky and southern Illinois; veiled witches and assimilated jews in Kansas, and Colorado mountain folk. My father writes, my mother dances. Improviser Simone Forti’s early mentoring continues to reverberate in my life as does a decade of creative research with William Forsythe and Maria Palazzi and the project we made together, Synchronous Objects, that asks “What else might physical thinking look like?”
Geographically I am multicentered working most often in Germany and the U.S. with strong roots in Colorado, California, and Ohio. Years spent in Latin America speaking Spanish, and months in Southeast Asia speaking Thai, tune me to varied oscillations of sound, space, and time. Centering Indigenous-led activism, visioning, and creativity and precious weeks spent in Aotearoa/New Zealand catalyze and ground. Years spent in German dance discourses and UK Artistic Research contexts are formative.