on art and his recent project Beautiful Apparitions
What does it mean to operate “under the shadow of digital and internet culture?”
It means that as a painter I am conscious that painting is heavily influenced by the past: Christianity, and the future: Technology and digital culture. I constantly see my painting practice in a hostage situation where I cannot fully resist nor surrender to the nostalgia of the past or excitement of the future. To operate under the shadow of digital and internet culture is to negotiate a “now” moment.
You call painting an “antidote to chaos.” What is chaos and how do you feel before and after engaging in an art form?
Painting has always been associated with philosophy, geometry, and architecture throughout history. To paint is to put together an image worth perceiving and attending to. Chaos in the context of painting is the opposite of that: a piece of visual information that doesn’t have enough tension to perceptually hold your attention.
Why have you chosen to title the album ‘Beautiful Apparitions’? Is there an element of something spiritual or sacred about this collection?
Because there is only a digital presence of their absence is left. I don’t know where are the people whom were captured in the VHS/cassette tapes, I don’t know what they’re doing. There is only an apparition left of each.
Do you have a favourite track on the album?
Track number 1, especially the moment when everyone joins in the singing.
How has the socio/political landscape changed from when the recordings were first made to present-day?
People don’t want to live double lives secretly celebrating. People don’t want to live the lie that the Islamic Republic regime is forcing them. Young Iranians are highly educated and brave despite all of the challenges. I think there is light on the horizon.
Why did you decide to share these intimate family memories?
To document the idea that Iranians have been celebrating life even in the darkest moments. To prove that we are not what is represented of us on Fox News and The Sun. We are cultured sociable peaceful human beings who enjoy rejoicing in life.
If you were to record family moments now, what would they sound like? Would you use them in the same way?
That’s a very good question. It would sound exactly the same but with more bilingual voices, BBQ sound effects, and the noises of pets playing in the garden in the background.
Is there a significance of the cassette and how does it relate to the current events in Iran presently?
This archival sound curation project and the recent “Women, Life and Freedom” revolution in Iran overlap a lot. They are both about taking back control of our lives, bodies, and embodiments.
When there continues to be chaos, why does art continue to feel relevant?
Art, in this context painting, fills us with reason when our world sinks into absurdity and chaos. It could be a model for a better world.