Work with the Backroom including exchanges with Eyebeam, CultureHub & The White Box Gallery.
Over the past three years, the Back Room has developed workshops, public programs, and exhibitions, in collaboration with artists and curators in the US and Iran. In the included video, there are excerpts from the following four projects:
“Siting Performance,” a two-day workshop, where artists, writers, and performers in Tehran and NYC discussed contemporary performance art practices, new media, and citizenship. Led by Richard Schechner, with Ava Ansari, Bavand Behpoor, and Molly Kleiman. Held April 16 and 17, 2011, between Eyebeam, NY, and Silk Road Gallery, Tehran.
“Composed, Composite, Composition,” a conversation with Shirana Shahbazi in conjunction with the exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, “New Photography 2012.” Held Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012, between Culture Hub, NY, and Sazmanab Center for Contemporary Art, Tehran.
"A Call", a performance by Wafaa Bilal, curated by the Back Room. With eighty-seven Iranian performers, an empty swimming pool, and five cameras, Wafaa Bilal developed "A Call" as a memorial to the dead, the living, and the forgotten of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). As the Iranian government denied Bilal an artist’s visa, he attended the September 23 opening at White Box in New York City. A video of the Tehran installation and its visitors streamed live on White Box’s walls. The mediated performance enacted the dislocations, delays, and ruptures that war breeds.
"Subway", an interactive artwork, in progress, that includes a video, a freely available Android app, and hundreds of still images collected from participants in Iran—"Subway" tests the subversive possibilities of digital media. Created by Ava Ansari, in collaboration with Andrew Quitmeyer and the Digital World and Image Group. The collaboration for "Subway" began in 2011, after a screening of Ansari’s “Dancing by Myself in Public.” The video documents Ansari dancing along New York City’s Times Square subway platform—performing gestures and interactions that would be illegal in her native Iran. Through mobile media, the performance was shared with men and women in Iran, who were able to contribute to the performance in their own ways. An Android app allows participants to re-stage the dance frame by frame, in public spaces throughout Iran, as well as include their own poses. While dancing is forbidden in Iran, striking a still pose for a snapshot is possible. In that way the app subverts the boundaries of oppressive laws, pointing to their capriciousness and absurdity.
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CultureHub programs including Artalk, CoLab, VirtuaLab, The Hip Hop Re:Education
Project, Volumetric Lab, and footage from the 2012 Media Arts Festival.