Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Melanie Crean's How To Do Things With Words (at BOMBlog)

Here is a little piece I wrote about Melanie Crean's recent exhibit at Parsons, "How To Do Things With Words," which addresses the effect of speech performances within recent aesthetic practices upon political action and civic discourse:

Another artist whose work I came across for the first time is that of Azin Feizabadi, who had two video works in the show. The first video work, in collaboration with Ida Momennejad, The Epic of the Lovers: Mafia, God and the Citizens (2009), is a lyrical essay about the Iranian demonstrations following the elections of 2009. The visual content of the video features figures seated with hoods and veils covering their faces. On the hoods and veils are projected images taken from the Internet of participants from the 2009 demonstrations. The seated figures represented by the video move only slightly. When they do, the images projected on their faces become distorted and deformed. The images of projections alternate with amble black leader, which punctuates the lyrical tempo of the sound-track whereof one hears portions of a diary read by the collaborators, Feizabadi and Momennejad. The diary consists largely of a series of questions and observations focused on the demonstrations. Poignant about the questions, is how they address contemporary socio-political uprisings, and particularly the sense during such an event that one is no longer acting as a single individual. The lovers’ dialogue—if that’s what to call it—calls to our attention the dilemma of the subject who must perform agency as part of a spontaneous collective subject. Skepticism and hope pervade the dialogue, which offers a moving and thoughtful portrait of the Iranian demonstrations both as a specific geopolitical event and as an index of a more general problematic of how collective subjects may come into being and solidify.

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