Friday, August 29, 2014

Schriftraum::Writing Room

Once upon a time, I had an amazing best friend.  That she no longer is even a friend is no one's fault but my own.

I suspect she reads this blog from time to time.  If history holds true, she probably already knows about this Iranian artist with whom I've just fallen in love.  If you can fall in love with photos of art work that are then digitally miniaturized to fit on computer screens.  I contend that this is possible.

So, Ramak, if you have not already met her, wined and dined her, hired her for an installation at The Institute, meet Parastou Forouhar.  Her site, written in English and German, is HERE.

Her parents, Dariush and Parwaneh Forouhar, "politicians of the opposition," were murdered in the Fall of 1998.  Wikipedia, Source of Unvarnished Truths, notes, in its entry for Dariush Forouhar that --
Forouhar and his wife, Parvaneh Eskandari Forouhar, were overt opponents of Velayet-e-faqih (Shia theocracy) and under continuous surveillance.[2] They were assassinated in their home in 1998. The murders, which are believed to have been politically motivated, remain unsolved, although the general belief is that the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence was involved and had ordered the killings.[3][4][5][6][7] It is thought that the murders were provoked by Forouhar's criticism of human rights abuses by the Islamic Republic in interviews with Western radio stations that beamed Persian-language programs to Iran. This "brought them to the attention of Iran's ubiquitous intelligence service."[8]
Under the public opinion pressure, the then Iranian president Mohammad Khatami formed a committee to follow up the case, which eventually asked for the resignation of theMinister of IntelligenceGhorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi. One of the main characters behind the case, Saeed Emami, reportedly committed suicide while in prison.
Shirin Ebadi, the lawyer of the Forouhars' relatives quoting Parastou says: "All evidence shows that my father was preparing himself to go to prison, because at the time of his slaying, his shoes had no laces, he did not wear his wrist watch and had his wallet emptied of its contents and papers except for some money."
Their murders brought to light a pattern known as the chain murders of Iran.

I bet you could clarify the entry.  If I were the betting sort.

The photo below is from "Women Museum, Bonn," and is dated 2001. The catalog for a later exhibition of the same (similar) work reads:

The Persian script is turned into an ornament. Covering the white walls of the museums, the characters serve Forouhar as “paper” for her own text. The room becomes a “writing room”. Whereas the white walls of the gallery room are raised to a universal norm and an unmarked instance, the Oriental ornament stands for difference or the deviating. The writing is also strange, if not alien, because it is illegible for Western visitors – as an “incomprehensible” text it becomes a pure ornament. In defying attempts by Western visitors to assign it meaning, the script remains locked into its irreducible pictorial graphicness and indissoluble representation. The meaning cannot be grasped; at best, the inscribed ping-pong balls, which cover the base of the installation, can be grasped in the tactual sense. The legibility is made even more difficult by the movement of the ping-pong balls, which due to their spherical form also offer no stable vertical or horizontal reading axes; they form new patterns over and over again, are always in motion, and become incoherently disjointed. Even if one has a command of Persian, the characters prove to be nothing more than word fragments and syllables, which are not subject to a linear order. The script ornamentation covers the whole room – the ceiling, the floor, and the walls. Viewers entering the rooms are surrounded by patterns, forcing them to give up their sovereign, distanced standpoint.

-- Dr. Alexandra Karentzos, Intersections, catalogue of the same named exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Australia, 2005

Parastou Forouhar
Schriftraum (written room) site-specific work

Well, kid, that's all.  I'm sure you know her, or of her, but I was happy to stumble upon her work today.

© 2013 L. Ryan

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