Layla Zami Zuckerman

Layla is an interdisciplinary academic and artist born in Paris and based in Brooklyn. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute, where she teaches in the fields of humanities, performance, and art history. Layla is a graduate from Sciences Po Paris and holds a Diploma in Classical Saxophone (Conservatoire du Mans, France) and a PhD in Gender Studies from Humboldt-University in Berlin, where she obtained the Faculty Teaching Award (1st Prize). She was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University and received several fellowships and grants such as ELES/BMBF (Jewish Talents Doctoral Fellowship), Humanities NY, and the French Ministry of Youth. In 2021, she created aleph miteinander as a commissioned work for Dagesh / Leo-Baeck-Institute.

As a Resident Artist with Oxana Chi Dance & Art, Zami creates and performs multi-instrumental music, spoken words, and physical theater in collaboration with the choreographer. Together with Oxana Chi, she performed across NYC and across the globe and held residencies at Abrons Arts Center, JCAL, The Brick, and Maison Rouge/Maison des Arts. A socially engaged scholar and artist, Zami was a Co-Chair of Black Lives Matter at Pratt, and co-curated events for the International Human Rights Art Festival, Dixon Place, and The Center for the Humanities (CUNY). Zami is the author of Contemporary PerforMemory (CUP, 2020). Her multilingual publications also appeared in MRPJ, Women & Performance, DRJ, and The Brooklyn Rail.

LABA project: 

“Broken Beth” is the second part of a trilogy exploring the intersection of ancient kabbalistic knowledge, current social realities, and language in times of pandemic. ​​The piece includes music and texts created and performed by Layla, and will be presented in collaboration with dancer-choreographer Oxana Chi.

If you could break one thing what would it be?

I am interested in the idea of breaking something down in the sense of unpacking an issue, its trajectory, its complexity. Breaking down the language in order to build new meaning, and breaking down the barriers that keep us apart from each other and from ourselves.