Perplexity Alloy | 2017

Date: September, 2017

at Dazibao, Montreal

Curator (s):
Amirali Ghasemi | Parkigallery

Video Artists:

Mehraneh Atashi | Atousa Bandeh | Shirin Fahimi | Anahita Hekmat | Payam Mofidi | Bahar Samadi

Statement:

The title Perplexity Alloy – آلیاژ بُهت is borrowed from an unpublished book of poems with the same name by the curator, once a poet himself which has been experiencing a lengthy writers’ block since early 2013. Being in the state of not expressing himself through lyrical & visual content, he is trying to speak via inspiring works of other artists he knows and has been collaborating with for many years.

All the participating artists have the experience of living abroad. Some reside there permanently, and most of them are always on the road. How does one preserve a particular ability to work with words while you are moving and when you have to speak a language other than your mother tongue most of the time? What will happen when your artistic practice revolves around words along with other subjects & materials? It’s said that poetry is often lost through the process of translation. Could it be different while we work with [moving] images? Perhaps, as we experience the works below, we might imagine some way out:

Mehraneh Atashi employs repetition, memory, and technical malfunction based on the opening lines of Gulistan, by Sa’di. Atashi’s In – out is playful and provocative, a compelling duo performance rooted in traditional Iranian theatre.

In Bahar Samadi’s Displacement, images comprise the main characters. She writes: “Images are in dialogue with each other, and at the same time they compete to become the dominant image. One image invites [challenges] another one, passes through it and returns to it [again].” In The Disappeared Eyes, the film’s language is derived from an archival source. It lacks continuity—perhaps not unlike the illness (Alzheimer’s) to which it refers. Samadi’s visual poetry is at its best as she deconstructs the piece amidst the spaces in her installations. She leaves us with clues, and we must imagine the riddles.

Anahita Hekmat’s Gah-Nameh [All the times to say goodbye], a ten-minute-long video journey, blurs the boundaries of personal and public, poetics and politics. Today, information gleaned via images constantly affects our everyday life experiences. At the same time, anyone may be a citizen-journalist or filmmaker and tell our collective history from their point of view. Here, first-person narration is constructed from the artist’s video diaries, and is mixed with storm-chaser videos from YouTube and people’s responses to the hurricane’s aftermath, to create a fictional story of a possible “Present.” Hekmat’s video at once embodies an experience of being in the world and deconstructs our narrative of the present.

Atousa Bandeh’s video works, Lover and, if you knew, last as long as the love songs they derive. Song lyrics used as subtitles on the scenes of the artist’s everyday life create an impression both familiar and absurd: we see the world through the eyes of an outsider who doesn’t hear the music yet seems to know the words that accompany the scenery.

In Payam Mofidi’s three-video series Cohesive Disorder, hands and napkins are the principal motifs. In the second video, the character feels secure and comfortable precisely as she is being drained, losing control of her own body and actions. In all the videos, patterns repeat themselves in various permutations. At the same time, spectators encounter embedded codes from which they may derive their meanings. Though usually shown together as an installation, each video has its character and charm, a whole unto itself.

In Tarigh-o-Shekl (Persian/Arabic: Study of Path and Form)Shirin Fahimi studies the formation of tarigh (path/border) and shekl (form/subject), interpreting them via a juxtaposition of geographical and geomantic lines to create a space outside of time where the two reach across one another. Tarigh-o-Shekl uses geomancy as a method to re-map the city with all of its existing spaces and routes. Geomancy interprets the markings on the ground—yet the ground is historical. It may be extended to other forms of mediation, from paper to screen.

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