The Impossible Room
About the Project
The Impossible Room is a performance project that questions the border as a static place. The work is inspired by a photo that Parisa Ghaderi scrolled across on Instagram. The image depicted a man and his wife on one side of a worn black line with his parents on the other side. The location was Haskell Free Library and Opera House, which straddles the US and Canadian border. The building is located in Stanstead, Quebec and Derby Line, Vermont. The Haskell family intentionally built the building in 1904 to promote cross border interaction. The thick black line runs beneath the seats of the opera house and diagonally across the center of the library's reading room to mark the international border. This venue served as meeting point for people who are unable to enter the US.
As an Iranian immigrant, Parisa Ghaderi is intimately familiar with the deep emotional and physical consequences of pursuing higher education in the US and eventually citizenship. An already contentious situation, the Iran-US political relationship over the past 40 years has grown worse with the recent travel ban restrictions. This has affected the visa regulation for both Iranian international students and their families who wish to visit. Iranian students are often granted a single entry visa, meaning an application for re-entry could be declined. Those with a single entry visa become afraid to leave and families hoping to visit are not permitted to enter. Many families try to be with their loved ones for graduation, weddings, newborn babies, or life emergencies, but it is not the case for Iranians. The photo on Instagram demonstrated one of the only ways families are able to reunite, in this little known library, even if only for a short time and under surveillance.
Borders are as real and as menacing as we choose to make them.
Meet the Artists
Choreography: Jodie Randolph in collaboration with the performers
Direction: Parisa Ghaderi + Jodie Randolph
Performers: Bailey Allshouse, Kara Brody, Anthony Milian