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Ferdows = Well No. 1

Performance, Video, Research, Experimentation, 3D
Ongoing 2017-2018

Based on my research on the discovery of oil and the first oil well in Iran (and in the Middle East), I am developing a new mythology that uses personal narrative and the data of its history, geology, geography, politics, infrastructures, and cultural practices. Through installation and performance, the piece will aim to put the oil back into the ground while revealing hidden stories and layers. Using the Persian poem Shahnameh (Book of Kings) by Ferdowsi as a foundation for storytelling and a celebration of Persian heritage and identity, this new mythology will be part historiography, part genesis, and part love story.  It will be part burial and part mourning, part afterlife; Ferdows means heaven or paradise.

Project Research and Documentation: https://farsiforeplaythesis.tumblr.com/

The Mother of All: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Nature

Installation, Projection, Unity3D, Capacitive Touch Sensor, Rug, e-waste
Documentation of Major Major show, May 6, 2017

The Mother of All: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Nature is an experience set in the future of the Anthropocene, where the heightened loss of natural environment and resource suggests that a ceremony of renewal, such as those found around Persian New Year, can b adapted to this context to address the critical need for survival and a connection back to nature- a new nature. I argue that this new nature of scarcity, perpetuated by industrialization fossil fuel reliance, and climate change, is characterized as such through artifacts of war technological advancement, and deforestation.

Gracious in Defeat (reprise)

Performance by Bugu Somet
OpenFrameworks, Kinect, video

What can performance and computation tell us about the rituals and politics of hair?

Gracious in Defeat (reprise) is a performance about obsession and mourning. Even hair deserves to be grieved. Even its death is haunting. 

This piece is part of a series of sketches called Zulf is Beloved, which are experiments to address hair loss, hair removal, and how hair manifests and performs gender and sexuality for an Iranian-American femme. The word for hair in Farsi is 'zulf', used, not in ordinary conversation, rather in love poetry to praise the beloved's hair. Or to describe hair that is inappropriately displayed. Seduction or shame. The Persia of Qajar celebrated the fluidity of gender and sexuality. Westernization removed hair from the body to equate with modernity, and removed femininity from the male land and the male sun. I gave hair back to Qajar, for what was once lost into otherness is now found in the future perfect.


Collaboration with Diana Salcedo & Jeana Chesnik
Installation and Performance
Desk, Paper, Water, Soil, Glass, Pen

Recent events surrounding climate change, including the Paris Agreement, created a starting point to examine how these bodies of politics contemplate solutions that determine the fate of Earth.  We pose questions about who and what these agreements serve and who holds the power to decide.

Bystander is an installation that challenges these formal and invisible agreements that are created by people and institutions to address climate change. This project intends to bring attention to how we’re using human bureaucratic rituals as an attempt to solve an environmental problem that begs for deeper involvement.  

The ritual in this case is the signing of agreements. We have put forth a scenario inviting participants to approach an often inaccessible arrangement where an agreement could be (or could not be) signed.

Without explicit instruction to the participant, the installation employs various ways of making a mark: with the natural elements, the pen, the soiled paper--contextualizing the content and the participant’s agency.  Can the page still be signed?  Should it be signed?  Are you a participant?  Do you feel power by signing? What has changed? Has anything changed?

Telematic Rivers

Collaboration with Diana Salcedo & Jeana Chesnik
Installation and Performance

How does a body of water embody the body politics?  

We explore the ways non-humans can take part in deciding their fates collectively with humans, how they are protected. Telematic Rivers is an installation that provides a technological communication platform and interface where rivers can speak through to voice their concerns about their survival. This experience is meant to reimagine a conference room setting where human and non-human entities are represented.

Within this conference room you will see seats at a table representing a meeting of multiple parties. In real time you will see two streaming videos – one of the Seine River in Paris and the second of the East River in New York City – simulating that they are occupying a seat at the table as if another human being was present.

This experience is meant to ask the viewer, if non-human entities had a voice equal to humans, would the discussions around climate change be approached in a different way as it is approached today?

Similar to legal precedents like the Rights of Nature in Ecuador or those granted to New Zealand’s Whanganui River, we are removing the notion that Nature is a human resource but rather a living entity with rights, similar to those of humans. By placing a telematic experience of two rivers, the Seine and the East River in a conference room with a table, chairs, paper and pens, we pose the question, how will these human agreements impact non-humans? We believe these rivers deserve the same attention Whanganui River is accomplishing to challenge the current process of representing and protecting natural elements.

Project Documentation: http://www.occupyearth.art/projects/finals/telematic-rivers/


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Cargo Collective 2017