a’21: The Dust to Come

Curated by: New Media Society, Parking Video Library
An Online/offline Screening program
Curated by New Media Society/ Parking Video Library

Friday March 19th 2021
17:00 CET (19:30 IRST)

Participating Artists:
Arash Khosronejad, Anahita Hekmat, Arash Hanaei, Nassrin Nasser, Maryam Katan /Shaahin Peymani, Elnaz Salehi, Milad Forouzandeh/Mohsen Hazrati, Nazanin Aharipour Ramin Rahimi

“The Dust to Come…” is a video program with a series of experimental art films by contemporary Iranian artists and filmmakers curated by the New Media Society. Exploring futures and alternative visions and confusions. The program was previously shown in August 2020 at Mosaic Rooms’ Future Threads. The a’21 screening will take place both online (streaming via various channels) and offline in our project space in Tehran, To attend Tehran’s event, please make sure that you are wearing your masks and keep a safe distance, there will be 2 screens indoor and outdoor for the visitor’s convenient and will follow by an online Q&A hosted on the festival’s website. 

Was it ever our future? “The Removed Agency” got me by surprise when I received the invitation to contribute to the Future Threads Programme. A teenage sci-fi fan, who never watched Star Trek or Star Wars, I asked around from my artist, cinephile, and writer friends, and our conversations led to some interesting findings. On the surface, we don’t talk/write/speculate about the future, a few animated fantasies, a few novels dealing with alternative history, and some timeless dystopian theater play. And soon I realized I need to educate myself about video games and comic books. Not only we don’t write/create our takes on the future, but often being omitted from having a future in many other scenarios: in some films, the middle-east is consumed/destroyed, because of its natural resources, and/or appear in some war room’s wall map or flickering dots on a screen during a pandemic outbreak. 

The future is blurry; we made countless Macro & Micro mistakes; we know the storm is inevitable; we watch science fiction, or we don’t… The future was never bright as they promised it to be, for some parts of the world are still as non-existent and discriminatory, as if it wasn’t pictured at all and never predicted.

See-through eyes, laser guns, and flying objects became killer drones, 3D Printing both an environmental threat and a cure for ventilator shortage.

The colorful plastic future once was pictured dreamy and chic but no one told us about the dust to come.

Amirali Ghasemi – August 2020

a’21 amberNetworkFestival will take place between the 10th of March & 16th of May 2021 at Oyoun in Berlin and the network nodes amberPlatform(Istanbul), Darağaç (Izmir), New Media Society (Tehran), DAH Project (Shiraz), KounAktif (Casablanca), BAAB (Khartoum), Shahraban (Baalbek), Bishkek Contemporary (Bishkek) and ADEF (Cairo, Berlin) currently. All the activities will be hybrid; in various locations and online at the same time.

a’21 is taking place in a very special time as a truly decentralized and international festival. We are developing the Collaborative (Network) Curation where the network members and invited artists are curating, creating, and performing collaboratively remotely along with the two-month-long festival.

Streaming Links:

New Media Projects:
No. 3, Araabi 3 Alley, Kheradmand-e Shomali St., Karimkhan Ave., Tehran

The Unfinished Tale of Buried Stars | Arash Khosronejad | 2013 | 5 min

The earthly world, bit by bit, breath by breath, gives its way to what lies in the skies. And what lies in the skies, lowers its awakening to the earthly world. The dead man, the living man, is observing  a new world. And right behind them, the creator, like a corpse on a crown, fades away. 

The Unfinished Tale of Buried Stars

104 -3 = 23 | Anahita Hekmat | 2010 | 6 min

Le CENTQUATRE [Artistic establishment in the city of Paris]
In an underground parking lot, children play the “hide-and-seek” game with the camera. But a disturbing and electric atmosphere emanates from these fleeting presences, memories of the last war or survivors of the next atomic explosion in a video game…

A Paranoid Cucumber | Arash Hanaei | 2019 | 3min

Chapter 1: “A paranoid cucumber” from “someone is cooking a jealous cloud”.
(Supported by Yassi foundation – Sahand Behrouzi- Tehran, Iran.)

A Paranoid Cucumber | 2019 | 3min by Arash Hanaei

The Element | Nassrin Nasser | 2017 | 29 min

A girl finds herself in an intense relationship, and struggles to rid herself of a growing obsession with her lover, yet she suffers from a mysterious deficiency that has fractured her strength.

The Element | 2017 | 29min by Nassrin Nasser

Dry Sterilizer | Maryam Katan and Shaahin Peymani | 2018 | 5 min

Dry Sterilizer is inspired by the Al-javad Mosque building in Tehran. It is one of the first mosques in the country in a modern architectural style. Before the Iranian revolution, this mosque was the speech base of an essential character in the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Morteza Motahari was known as one of the first preachers and lecturers to present some conservative Islamic ideas with western philosophical rhetoric and jargon. In a famous speech, which is used in this piece, he talks about purification and cleansing of one’s soul. Al-Javad Mosque is in one of the most populated and polluted areas in Tehran. In 2016, the building was painted with a special air-purifying paint called knoxout™. This is the first building in the city to function as a purifier. The Islamic revolution in Iran began its way with the most anti-capitalist and anti-materialist slogans, while ironically, this purification itself goes through a commodification in the most materialistic way.

Dry Sterilizer | 2018 | 5min by Maryam Katan and Shaahin Peymani

Autonomotormenthek | Elnaz Salehi | 2020 | 3 min

AUTONOMOTORMENTHEK is a manufacturing pop-up company that designs and produces the ideas and devices that are inspired by the middle ages of torture devices. It might seem a “Home Furnishing Industry” but we call it a “Body and Mind Furnishing Industry”. Our concept is a “LIVING” concept. It is not and will never be a “DYING” concept. But we believe the life you live is not painless. Pain is not over until you die. Because of this, we started comprehensive research about YOU and we figured out that you are always in a fight against an important opponent, that is YOU, your fears, doubts, insecurities caused by “The Others”. So we broke this connection between “pain” and “the other” and allow you to take control of both yourselves because we believe that you are ultimately alone and the only way to overcome this loneliness is to DO IT BY YOURSELF. Our ideas and devices are redesigned in such a way that can be used without the help of any other person. We enable the affiliated and lonely people to experience a better lonely everyday life by practicing real independency and individuality by torturing themselves by themselves. However, this is not the end. We have plans also for your future. Future for Autonomotormenthek means the future of every individual, and for every individual in the future, there will be nothing but “Death”, maybe the most individual experience you can ever take. So, we try to provide high tech applications for your future comfort; your loneliness of dying. In a short
video featuring Toktam Yousefi and narrated by Arya Bakhsheshi, we will introduce our deadly modern and explosive plans. So don’t worry because…

Autonomotormenthek | 2020 | 3min by Elnaz Salehi

Faal/ Prologue_version_01 :: (.avi)(.avi)(.avi) (Bibliomancy) | Milad Forouzandeh and Mohsen Hazrati | 2019 | 4 min

As a kind of foresight and collective review, this project intends to attend to gene promotion in various biological species. Having been investigating the Axolotl genome that has the capability of restoring the damaged parts of the body, scientists have carried out successful experiments to regenerate organ tissues of human, animal, and plant species making use of Cell engineering. Looking backward, classical artists used to register a kind of perspective filled with plants, human and animal species. Examining the plants in their works and relying on our familiarity with the surrounding world, we could accept these species as tangible objects. Yet, there has been a contentious issue of how we could show and record the distinction between performing such species with distinguished new traits in contrast with those of the past. In a different era of Persian literature, we have witnessed the vast use of cedar trees, directly or indirectly. The image of the tree has also been used in miniature and the stories of a different era in Iran. We could imagine having another version of this tree with the same old appearance but with an upgraded gene and new capabilities. How would it be possible to investigate and record its image? This is an example of the visual evidence of ancient Iranian culture. By discussing and investigating such topics in other cultures by posing the question whether, in a future filled with the creation of the new mutated phenomenon, we will encounter a huge alteration of definitions in areas such as literature and visual culture, I would intend to investigate and predict different subjects which are key elements in both literary and visual cultures of the other countries. This would be a kind of preparation and endeavour to create a platform for describing and portraying new species with mutated genes. In this project, I try to create an ecosystem in a virtual world and a real-world, including trans humans, plants, and animals with upgraded genomes and new abilities which is a platform to review and research these imaginary creatures with the genetic mutation. This project intends to answer whether they could affect the meaning of our literature, Poetry, and Stories in the future.
Bibliomancy is the use of books in fortune-telling. The method of employing sacred books (particularly specific words and verses) for ‘magical medicine’, for removing negative entities, or for divination is widespread in many religions of the world. In Iran, Bibliomancy using the dīvān of Hafiz is the most popular for this kind of divination, but not the only kind. The Quran, and the Mathnawī of Rumi, may also be used. Fāl-e Ḥafez may be used for one or more persons. In group bibliomancy, the dīvān will be opened at random, and beginning with the ode of the page that one chance upon, each ode will be read in the name of one individual in the group. The ode is the individual’s fāl. Assigning of the odes to individuals depends on the order in which the individuals are seated and is never random. One to three verses from the ode following each person’s fāl is called the šāhed, which is read after the recitation of the fāl. According to another tradition, the šāhed is the first or the seventh verse from the ode following the fāl. An ode which had already been used for one individual in the group is disqualified from serving as the fāl for a second time. This project is about generating a virtual space of predictions using unlimited online data based on the Persian Mysticism and tradition into a VR artwork. As there are so many people who get matched results based on their intentions and there are many stories about the magic of Hafiz fāls in our history, maybe this online data can create a story and suggest a solution for whoever is taking a virtual Hafiz fāl.

Faal/ Prologue_version_01 :: (.avi)(.avi)(.avi) (Bibliomancy) | 2019 | 4min by Milad Forouzandeh and Mohsen Hazrati

Down to the Rabbit Hole | Nazanin Aharipour | 2020 | 3 min

Nazanin Aharipour’s casual video diaries is what she makes for her Instagram account and can be understood  both as a coping mechanism against daily disturbances and a contemporary ritual to remember and to forget.  She writes: “Down to the Rabbit Hole is an experimental video collection based on my daily moods. The visual  compositions have been made out of the daydreams about life and how it takes me down into another world  as if I’m a rabbit in my Wonderland.”

Down to the Rabbit Hole | 2020 | 3min by Nazanin Aharipour

Khorsheed (The Sun) | 2016 | 7min by Ramin Rahimi

This quest is not a story to be told. / It’s a vague perception of a pathway that enables us. / Enable to reveal something we don’t know! / It’s a far-away sparkle of light we spend our lives following. / Maybe we never perceive its meaning… / Maybe we arrive. Maybe we pass through. / Maybe… / But if we stare at it, what would we see?