About: Parking Video Library (2004- present)

Parkingallery Projects was an independent platform and project space, founded in 1998 by some art students in Tehran. It was located in the garage of artist/curator Amirali Ghasemi’s parents’ house.

Initially, it was supposed to function as a transitory exhibition space and design studio. But the conditions and limitations of the formal art setting of that period, along with the increasing internet usage persuaded the founding members to expand the scope of their activities as an online project space. 

In 2002, the Parkingallery.com website was published. The website started as an online gallery to present the new generation of graphic designers, photographers, and contemporary artists. It provided extensive documentation on past shows, links, videos, and other essential information that helped improving access to both works and artists.

Meanwhile, Parkingallery was among the first to organize multimedia exhibitions inside Iran. (Namely Deep Depression (2004), Transition (2005), Deeper Depression (2006) in Tehran and Esfahan). This is how Negar Azimi portrays Parkingallery in 2006: 

“As a physical parallel to the virtual gallery, Ghasemi now also holds self-initiated, self-funded, and self-curated exhibitions in the garage of his parent’s home. He has hosted some thirty-four young artists on his website and even larger numbers in actual exhibitions within the parking area. When an exhibition is shut down in Tehran, it is not uncommon for it to find its way either to Ghasemi’s Website or the concrete home aƒorded by the garage.” (Azimi, Negar. Don’t Cry For Me, America. In Lila Azam Zanganeh, (Ed.) My Sister, Guard Your Veil; My Brother, Guard Your Eyes (p.107). Boston: Beacon Press)

These were followed by overseas projects such as “Lost in no space” and “Iran etc.” in Istanbul; the workshop of “Reloading Images” in Tehran and Berlin; “sideways in Tehran showcased both in Iran and The Netherlands and ….

In the very early years, the new generation of artists welcomed this informal space. It led to the accumulation of a considerable number of experimental artworks, including media and performance art. Thus the archival feature of the Parkingallery was highlighted. So the archive began to work as an independent section under the title “Parking Video Library”. 

So far, this living archive has been updating by exchanging works with various institutions, collectives, and independent artists worldwide. 

At this time, the introduction of the Limited Access Festival helped significantly in collecting and showing video works as well as enriching the Parking Video Library. 

Eight editions of this open call video, sound, and performance festival have taken place since 2007. The festival has always tried to feature the underrepresented prominent and upcoming artists from all over the world. The festival has worked with guest curators and collaborated with various individuals, institutions, and archives in Berlin, Stockholm, Helsinki, Cairo, Ljubljana, Paris, Toronto, San Francisco, Vienna, Montreal, Brussels, and The Hague in the past years.

PVL introduced the vibrant new wave video art scene from the early days. It has been consistently presented through curated video programs, artist talks, open studios, multimedia exhibitions, workshops, and online screenings.

Though the physical space of Parkingallery projects in the North West of Tehran has been closed since February 2014, the platform continued its nomad activities and projects. And since the fall of 2015, Parking Video Library has been accessible for researchers, curators, and art students via New Media Society’s project space upon request. Ever Since new media society and Parking video library joined forces to curate programs beyond conventional platforms and within current settings.

The archive consists of a broad range of moving images and multimedia works by prominent and emerging artists from Iran and elsewhere. Approximately 350 contemporary Iranian artists have shared one or several works with this archive. More than 50 screening programs have been curated with works of PVL. 

On its 18th anniversary, Parking Video Library undoubtedly plays a prominent role in preserving/presenting video art, moving images, documenting sound and performance in Iran, and creating knowledge around its expanding subjects of interest. 

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