Installation: Wooden Embroidery Hoop: 30", Cello Bow: 4/4, 48", Gray Hair: 27" Video: (loop); color; Sound: Varous Music, Stereo Interaction: by starting playing, a music are being heard.
Life Strand is a musical interactive sound installation based on my own experiences, upbringing, and background, told through the universal language of music. The sculpture resembles a stringed musical instrument consisting of human hair as its strings, and an embroidery hoop upon which an upside down image of my face is projected. To me, the embroidery hoop is not only a symbolic feminine object but also a memory portal: it reminds me of my childhood when my mom and grandma would embroider. This notion of memory is something I’ve always have been interested in and have pursued in all my works.
The installation's key features are the sound component, the embroidery screen, and the hair, each of which have played an important role in my life. My installation connects with the intimate experience of touching my hair, and offers a different and new experience by playing and hearing a poetic and feminine instrument. To help channel the creation of this piece, I asked myself the following series of questions: “If I were an instrument, what kind would I be? How would I be played? What are my tones? My moods? What would I reveal to a new player, or one who has played me many times?”
As a child I always preferred the shape and sound of a cello. However, my older sister played piano, therefore my parents wanted me to play piano too. Despite all the time and effort I dedicated to learning piano, I never fully enjoyed it, but felt obligated to keep playing. As a result, I ended up with a bachelor’s degree and 18 years of playing an instrument I didn’t like. Knowing it was impossible to forge a healthy relationship with any instrument for a while, I decided to make an interactive installation that functioned as a replica of a cello and also as a self-portrait.
In the process of making Life Strand, I searched my mind about which materials would be best to create this unique musical instrument. I found myself thinking about my hair, which has always played an important part in my life. At home in Iran, my hair had to be covered anytime I was outdoors. Furthermore, showing my hair in public, or letting it be touched was against Islamic law, therefore my hair became a forgotten part of my body.
Another reason my hair is important to me is how it was affected by the most painful event in my life: the death of my father when I was just 15. The shock and trauma I felt from the experience turned my hair white overnight. The sudden pigment change in my hair was a tangible reflection of the intense pain I felt from within. My hair remains ashen to this day. By incorporating hair into Life Strand, this piece is intended to be an extension of me, something to introduce me, and a symbol that reminds someone of me.
Years of Numbness (Interactive installation), 2011
Installation: rusted metal: 120 x 40 x 85, iron: 22.5 x 10 x 10, sheet iron: 60 x 35, printed clothes
Interaction: by starting ironing, a woman’s confessions are being heard.
“Years of Numbness” is the title of my interactive installation during a group exhibition in Aaran art gallery in Tehran.
On a metal iron board there is a worn out dress that a woman’s portrait is printed on it and an old heavy iron standing next to it.
Whenever an audience picks it up and starts ironing, a woman’s confessions in court and her moans are being heard till the ironing continues. The sound would stop when the iron is put in its place.
The concept is to demonstrate our reactions to social issues around us, to people who tragically get crushed and we just watch without any response. We are the passive observers of these days. To have not an act, becomes actually the exact act of killing. Our silence becomes torturer and these years pass one after another, same way.
This piece is particularly about Shahla Jahed’s case; and also her own voice and image are used in it. She was executed without any effective act against it.
Shahla Jahed (1970 – 1 December 2010)
Shahla Jahed, an intelligent, calm and present-minded defendant; She fell in love with the famous Iranian footballer, Nasser Mohammadkhani and he had a secret affair with her for 4 years although he was married and had two children.
Once when Nasser was on a travel abroad for a football match, his wife was killed and Shahla was accused to murder, arrested and detained.
She didn’t accept any involvement in the murder of a whole year till a rainy night when Nasser came to visit her and insisted she took responsibility for the murder so he would not be arrested too and could keep his sport reputation and in return he would help her to become free.
Shahla accepted out of her true love for Nasser and even reconstructed the murder scenes for the police.
She spent the next eight years in prison. Meanwhile Nasser did nothing to rescue her against all his promises although he knew better than anybody else that shahla was innocent. Instead he just played the role of a grieving innocent deceived family man for the media, waiting for nothing but justice for his beloved wife’s murderer.
In the end without the true murderer being relieved, shahla was hanged in an autumn day in 2010. Nasser attended the execution and just watched her dying in cold blood.
Shahla's phone calls from prison and trials were full of love expressions, “I took responsibility so Nasser would not hurt any more”.
A love that as she herself said was not just a passion but a reality that got buried.
"Do not say, was an illusion, our love
Cannot be an illusion
Clock hands do not move just painfully crawling
And no more I shall rush for anyone and anything expect
so I would know
Will the man, who put me to the sword,
Grieve for me? " *
Position (Project of Video-Performance-installation), 2008
Installation: "An old and worn out sofa; coil: height 200cm, diameter 60cm; room dimensions: 3×4 m;
Video: 10:00 (loop); color; stereo"
Performance: "A girl is sitting in the coil,turning round the video projection all over the room"
"Childhood" was the title of the first exhibition of "Filter" group consisting of six artists.
This exhibition was held in an old and abandoned house, which took a long time for finding it and each member of group chose a space of it for her/his piece.
The weariness of house in combination with our installations, performances and videos took a new spirit.
My piece, entitled “Position” (Performance, Video, Installation) performed in bedroom of the house. I colored all the windows and walls to close it more to my concept of my work.
“Position” is about a young girl that lives in her childhood memories, happy times, family parties, mom and dad being in love and and her freedom.
Girl doesn’t care about the passing time and the memories, surround her like a chain and don’t let her free.
This two days exhibition had great reviews, the atmosphere and pieces of exhibition was interesting for audience; This time instead of going to an art gallery for attending in an art event, they had an address of house somewhere in north of Tehran, which made them so curious.