Monument in Flux | 2017

Video Artists & Filmmakers:
Studio 51 (Babar Samadi & Navid Salajegheh) | Bahman Kiarostami | Mohammad Hosseini | Susan Bayani | Sanaz Sohrabi | mo H. zareei | Mona Kakanj | Payam Mofidi | Jalaleddin Anvari

Curator: Amirali Ghasemi

Screenings /Dates:

W139 – Amsterdam | Presented as a part of Ideology Meets Implementation  | October 2017
Espacio Belgrado | Buenos Aires | November 2018


“Monument in flux” gathers artists, filmmakers, and video essayists living across the globe, from North America to New Zealand via Iran, in the frame of the exhibition “Ideology Meets Implementation” at W139 in Amsterdam. The program tries to invite perspectives on the subject, the fluidity of monuments in our time and the constant changes they face, from the ancient Tomb of Cyrus the Great to the unsteady Contemporary Pedestals, and from Sculptural Representations to Performance in Public Space, and from the emergence of the Revolutions to fading traces of East Block Heritage, Monument are in the constant state of flux, reshaping and becoming according to what passes in front of them.

Jalaleddin Anvari | Don’t Envy Me At This Time | Documentation of Installation | 2’| 2008 
Installation: Fiberglass, Bubble maker machine, Electronic timer .95x86x70

Jalaleddin Anvari’s latest project, Vacuum (Tohigi in Persian), touches upon many critical issues like Identity, Histori(es) and our Iranian legendary oblivion. He carefully juxtaposes various mediums, from text to archaeological imagery, tourist pictures and documentary photography in addition to his sculptural installation; a model version of one of our most talked about historical monuments, which camouflages in an ironic manner, a timed bubble maker machine.

Although Anvari doesn’t tend to force us, into a pre-imagined conclusion either toward blaming ourselves for being too conceited or necessarily pushing us to obtain a sarcastic point of view of the past. He neutrally shows us about how our cultural heritage remains as a façade, while the sites are being visited frequently. As if we are developing a habit, which praises our sense of patriotism without paying attention to the meaning of ignorantly practicing this often-empty ritual. Exposing a shell, which has remained from our understanding of histories. and at the same time, he playfully invites us to re-think our identity in the short while before its bubble burst.

Mona Kakanj | Rat Race | Video  | color |  sound | 2016

A few years after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the government of the newly-established Islamic Republic clamped down on dog ownership. The number of cats, both domestic and feral, increased drastically, becoming a special feature of Tehran, while dogs are a rare sight in the crowded city’s streets. Not so in Cologne, where there are proud dog owners everywhere. It only seems logical, then, that East and West would fight like cats and dogs. Yet sometimes cats and dogs get along quite well, as we see in so many YouTube videos. The project Rat Race plays with the fluidity of these metaphors. Rat Race ironically underlines the cultural differences between the street cats of Tehran and the domesticated dogs of Cologne.

The glory, the human, and the mother: cartography | Video with sound | 17’35” | 2017

Wanderings, speculations, and observations in search of the vestiges of three monuments in Eastern Anatolia, Georgia, and Armenia. Oscillating between archival materials and documentations from the monuments’ sites, “The glory, the human and the mother; A cartography”, follows and observes three different monuments which were built and later demolished, altered, or repurposed. These cycles of construction and demolition, each are part of a different nation-making project in the Caucasian region, namely Eastern Anatolia, Yerevan, and Central Georgia. Movements, objects, photographs, and fluxes of different materials seem to be repeating one another, photographs lose their authors and every picture can be read in relation to the hitherto visible or an anticipation of the forthcoming. The narrator does not clarify an ending for the events surrounding these monuments over the past years. It seems that these human-made structures have become inseparable from the landscape they occupy, and the different spatial-temporal exchanges between the sites, the humans, and the everyday routines surrounding them, albeit far in distance, are not so dissimilar in their effect in memory.

Studio 51 – Bahar Samadi | The Plasco Building | Silent | Color | 3’00’’ | 2017 

The plasco Building in Tehran engulfed by fire, collapsed on 19 January 2017.

The 17-story tower built in early 1960, was an iconic presence on the Tehran skyline.

The image used in this video is photographed from a position in which the building is not clearly visible.

Studio 51 – Navid Salajegheh | Flying through an inverted temple | Silent | Black & White | 03’04’’ | 2017 

Ancient ziggurat: A central or ladderane ascendent axis,  which connects several externals/surfaces in a pyramid. Each external is higher and above the subsurfaces/externals.
Extending up the volume to represent a transcendental movement.

Inverted ziggurat: Descendent central axis, ladderane which immerges inside. Absolute internality or the reflection of externality at the end of ladderane where the gravity reaches the peak. Vacuity. reflection of a reflection.

This volume has been designed by a 3D designing software

mo H. zareei | machine brut(e) | video | color & sound | 7’30”  | 

machine brut(e) is an audiovisual project inspired by Brutalist architecture. The work is comprised of a collection of ten installation pieces composed for an ensemble of mechatronic sound-sculptures. Each piece incorporates a different combination of the sound-sculptures and is composed as a one or two-bar long pattern that goes through an endless loop. Strictly metric and pulse-based rhythms are used as a sonic metaphor for the grid-based and geometric structure of Brutalist architecture. By using nonstop repetitions of one or two-bar long loops, the piece draws attention to the very essence of its constituent sonic material and every detail and nuance of their noise, in parallel to the validation of material in Brutalist architecture. The non-developmental linearity of the work creates a sense of temporal monolithism that matches the block-like aesthetics of Brutalism. In addition, this constant repetition helps convey an instant audible structure that links the work to the memorable imagery of Brutalist buildings. The physical placement and distribution of the sound-sculptures in each composition has also been taken into account meticulously, abiding by the strict geometries and highly ordered visual aesthetic of Brutalism. Therefore, each piece is thought through not only as a work of sound art, but also a sculptural composition. To further highlight the visual Brutalist aesthetic, a block of raw concrete (béton brut) is emblematically featured in all ten compositions.

The ensemble is comprised of three instrument-types that use different material and sound-generating mechanisms. Nevertheless, all three instruments employ non-

musical objects whose sonic aspects are conventionally perceived as “non-beautiful”: the buzzes, whirrs, and clicks and clacks of electromechanical objects, the sounding of bits and pieces of metal. Using identical mechatronic components across all three instrument-types (i.e. the same types of DC motors and linear actuators) creates further homogeneity when they are collected as an ensemble, in keeping with the rigour of the Brutalist ethos. In doing so, the work simultaneously undertakes a sonic transcoding of these principles that is expressed through the use of the intrinsic noise of its materials, and the clear and immediate comprehensibility of its sonic structure.

Mohammad Hosseini | Yaqoot, the Lady in Red at Ferdowsi Square | | Color & Sound|  Documentary | 7’ |

People of my age probably have not heard of Yaqoot (Ruby in English) who was disappeared in 1361 (1983). However, those who can picture Tehran before the 1979 revolution had seen a lady in red at a corner of Ferdowsi Square. Heavily made-up, thin, medium height, boney-faced clenched by the passing days of life. She was all in red; everything in red: her purse, shoes, socks, skirt, blouse, and a bag she used to carry all the time and of course those last days a headscarf and stick. Tehranis named her Yaqoot, a name she herself liked too. 

Year after year, they say for twenty-thirty years, every day the from morning to night she used to stand still waiting in a way that you would say the one supposed to see her comes right away. Everybody believed that an unfaithful lover, the one who never showed up, had asked her to wear a red dress for the appointment, which left her ever after in red. 

This is to propose performing this story. Relying on the support from volunteers, every day at exactly 6 pm, a “lady in red”, with a rose in her hand would stand to wait at Ferdowsi Square.

Payam Mofidi | Variations on An Instruments of a Human Anatomy | HD video | Color | Sound | 10’24” | 2017

“Variations on An Instruments of a Human Anatomy, Abanbarno_Gharan Street_

Sari_Iran” is one of a series of ongoing two-channel videos filmed in a different location

–chosen with a symbolic or historical reason- one of them demonstrates the installation the procedure of the disjointed sculpture on a plinth portraying the violence that exists in the the assemblage of a long-lived entity, also implying the interpretability of position of power and its domineering determination. The other video in which the sculpture is positioned in its final setting, portrays the passage of time and the change of day and night through which the sculpture swings down and up in a pendulum motion. Further to backing the main concept of globality of the ‘controlling society’ as a notion, the videos imply the possibility of its replication in different geographies.

The statue of power is constantly duplicated in an unbalanced and unstable condition as a way to mock ‘human as a sculpture’ and also to present ‘body without organ’ outside of the timing merits of the medium of video.

Susan Bayani (Writer & Director)

TV 1979 | 30’ |  Documentary Film | Iran | 2011 | Persian with English Subtitles
produced by Iranian National Television

Composed entirely of the archived footage, this documentary tells the story of the Iranian Television Broadcast employees’ 99 days strike in reaction to the imposition of martial law during the 1978-79 Iranian revolution and the appointment of a Royal Army General to head the Iranian Television and Radio during the unrests.  I am submitting this work as it shows how you could indirectly pass the censorship in Iran.  This film is set in Pre-Revolutionary Iran, so it was fine to make it in Iran.  However, I made it just after the 2009 political upheavals in Iran and the Green Movement when the national TV was not showing any of the uprisings on the streets and broadcasted entertainment.  I was making a commentary on the political situation in Iran.

Bahman Kiarostami
The Statues of Tehran (Mojasamehaye Tehran)| HD | 60’ | Documentary Film |Iran |
Persian with English Subtitles | 2008

In essence, The Statues of Tehran interrogates the function of monuments in today’s Tehran, an ideology-ridden postmodern megalopolis, afflicted with forgetfulness. It tracks the fate of two important public sculptures, the first, a pioneering work commissioned by the royal family in the 1970s, of then foremost modern sculptor Bahman Mohassess; the second a tribute to the Islamic Revolution standing in Enghelab Circus (Revolution Roundabout), by Iraj Esskandari. Under the aegis of the revolution, the first was destined for neglect and eventually storage, while the second became a landmark in the city’s myriad public projects celebrating the revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. Not for long, it would seem as plans have been set in motion to remove that second monument to build a subway station, much to the jubilation of artists and officials, who are even inspired to restore the Bahman Mohassess work and re-erect it in its original place. As with The Treasure Cave, this film also explores how a revolution and autocratic regime attempt to redefine public space, national symbols and monuments, but more interestingly, it also engages with the experience of artists negotiating with official bodies, public commission, popular aspirations, official discourse and creative freedom. Kiarostami is masterful in staging real characters in a non-fictional setting that brings to the fore the fictions we all create to make sense of our being in the world.

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