The multilingual video-performance Surya Namaz (2018) is a personal investigation of yoga and the Muslim prayer ritual, exploring the potential of transcultural performance, opacity and multilingualism to undo fixed notions of belonging. The main protagonists are Deniz Sözen’s aunt Ümit, a devout Muslim woman living in Anatolia, Turkey, and her New York-born Nigerian-Puerto-Rican yoga teacher Marisol Figueroa Reitze, who lives in Switzerland.
She has presented her research internationally and her writing has been published in print and online. Deniz has received numerous awards and residencies, including, ‘West Balkan Calling’, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (2016), the MAK-Schindler Scholarship Los Angeles (2013–14), Cité des arts Paris (2014), the CREAM research scholarship (2014–2017) and the Marianne von Willemer Prize for digital media (2014). Her video installation Surya Namaz has been shortlisted for the 2019 BAFTSS Practice Awards, Best Practice Research Portfolio.