The Observed | Video Screening | Amir Farsijani

Amir Farsijani | Video screening
The Observed, 2018 (29 min)
New Media Projects
Mars 8-9, 2019 | 7 pm

During my stay in Antwerp, Belgium, and a conversation with my friends in Tehran, as well in a try to get in touch with the city and even the citizens I became acquainted with the book ” Persian Letters *” by Montesquieu; In His ” Persian Letters “, Montesquieu portrays an image of the European society through letters sent back by two Iranian noble gentlemen to their spouses or crew.

Letters from two imaginary characters who were traveling to Europe and were trying to discover more advanced territories and gain knowledge. Along with this book, I recalled a documentary titled ” News from Home ” by the Belgian filmmaker Chantal Ackerman in 1977. The film is consisting of long film sequences from different parts of New York city which were accompanied by Chantal Ackerman’s narrations, who read her mother’s letters from 1971 to 1973.

The connection between my living experience as a foreigner in the city of Antwerp, Montesquieu’s book in an attempt to critique or read European culture through the use of two Iranian imaginary characters, as well as Akerman’s account of being far from his home and the relationship between his place of residence and its, through the letters that his mother sent, gave me an opportunity to make a new narrative by putting these narratives together.

In this 29-minute video, the audience observes the images from the city of Antwerp, which is taken from an angle lower than the eye and in the cloudy sky as well with a wide-angle, and the camera is fixed and is only observing.

On the pictures, a number of five letters were selected from the Montesquieu Book, which is read by four women, all the papers are about the status of women in Europe and sometimes compared with the situation of women in Iran. This video is in Persian language and does not have any subtitles. The reason for not including subtitles can both be a resistance to the English as the language of the majority and opposition with the presentation of the artist’s work in as minority whose appearance is forced to endorse the taste of the Western audience.

I sent the selected letters to my friend in Tehran and during my stay in Antwerp, and I asked them to record the letters and to send them back to me. Initially, I sent about 10 letters to nine people among my friends, both male, and female, and, of course, I tried to set each letter in a way that each have a small link with the reader, the answers include 5 letters from women and a letter from men. And finally, with the current events and incident and a little bit of direction on the topic, I decided to use women’s voices and letters on women’s issues.

Amir Farsijani

Amir Farsijani (b. 1988, Tehran, Iran) is a multidisciplinary artist who mostly works in photography and installation with a conceptual approach. He is a graduate of graphic design. Daily urban experiences play a major role in his initial approaches to his works. The first step is the documentation of whatever is considered as standards of urban life. He explains that by using photography for documentation, he can more easily go back to the spaces he has been to.

Amir Farsijani usually works with urban objects, and the city is his ‘raw material’.

No. 3, Araabi 3 Alley, Kheradmand-e Shomali St., Karimkhan Ave., Tehran