Tuesday, January 20, 2015

1/21 Binding Time: Shirin Mozaffari (in-person)

Wed. 1/21 Shirin Mozaffari (in-person)
At the intersection of non-fiction filmmaking and experimental media art practices, Mozaffari's main interest is in creating poetic narratives that are candid and intimate portrayals of real-life subjects/experiences. She has exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad, including video-dumbo 2013 in New York, Rencontres Internationales in Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Australian Cinematheque in Queensland Gallery of Modern Art as well as festivals in Canada, Tehran, Poland, San Francisco, Switzerland, Sweden, Cairo, Berlin, Norway, and New York. Originally from Tehran, Iran, Mozaffari received a Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 


Time Binders (2014) 23 minutes
Time Binders draws a comparison between two transitional conditions: the fleeting existance of a reflection of a light and a human life time. Filmed in an assisted living space in Cambridge, MA, the film explores the physical and psychological space, where one is stripped of his/her youth and death seems a closer ally than life.  

Tarab (2013)
Tarab is an Arabic concept which has no direct English translation, but essentially represents the musically induced state of ecstasy transmitted by a performer to the audience through the syntax of music. The piece focuses on the distinct physical and emotional characteristics of Tarab by isolating its physical manifestation from its original context, including the music itself.
With an intent focus on the facial expressions of the performers, Tarab provides this intimate emotional state with a publicly excessive and overwhelming presence, providing the viewer with the feeling that they are intruding into someone’s private psychological space.
What remains is a visual diary of an array of emotions expressed through facial expressions including excitement, pain, exaltation, yearning, loss, timelessness, elation, and rapturous delight.

Someone Else's Project (2012) 5 minutes
As we contemplate the origins of images, seeing them through someone else’s eyes becomes inextricable characteristic of the “original” image. Images of the elsewhere are appropriated into the imaginary. As artists in the diaspora reach out to their origins, they negotiate their own positions as well. Today, in the increasingly interconnected world, distances have diminished, and distant or prohibited places can be virtually within reach. US-based artist Shirin Mozaffari negotiates this real and virtual distance in her film Someone Else’s Project (2012). Her intention was to have a videographer shoot some footage of everyday life in her hometown, Tehran, for a project. Instead, the project turned into an obfuscated collaboration with a young woman in Tehran who chose to remain anonymous.

In this exchange, Mozaffari extends her authorship to Anonymous, who assumes multiple roles as character, videographer, and, to a degree, substitute author. Working together, they highlight the censorship that prohibits them access to, and ownership of, the public space of the city, and, by extension, their own agency. Together, they overcome restrictions of access and establish a live link between “here” and “elsewhere,” “you” and “me,” “author” and “spectator.” Each collaborator is spectator as much as author of another’s project. This extended author-spectatorship encompasses others—ourselves, providing us with access to the site of practice. Both distancing and proximity are realized. 

The story of Ama and Baba (2010) 7 minutes
What if the world were created of construction paper and magazine cutouts? If it were, would we be able to float in outer space, watching the world's creation before us and would the waves of sound vibrations be haunting and ethereal? Would the sounds of laughter and horses hooves penetrate the emptiness of space?

Namesake (2010) 4 minutes
The story of a family tragedy unfolds from three different perspectives to explore how a narrative’s content and impact changes according to the source. The imagery in Namesake in composed of appropriated graphics from Persian miniature paintings repositioned within a contemporary feminist context.