How to Leave the History Behind and Refuse to Relive it Every Day?
Single Channel Film Essay
Original Running Time: 1 hour and 10 minuets
The final footage will be dedicated to a family-footage from my own archive that has been recorded in Dubai while I was visiting for registration at Alghoryr university. The videotape was rediscovered in 2019, 4 years after I finished archiving The New York Times newspaper’s middle east section. This footage made me realize I was collecting news way more back in time than I actually started archiving paper clipping from The New York Times. This footage has been recorded on VHS tape and as the technology of VHS was fading it never occurred to me to notice the fact that how easy we leave the history behind and forget that we are re-living it every day.
From 2010 to 2015, I began studying the New York Times' views on the Middle East conflict. I collected pages related to news, art, and the Middle East. The Arab Spring had just begun. I was an art student at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). I had taken a political science course as part of my fall semester program to fill up my units. We had to read the New York Times, understand the role of politics, and compare it to history. The matter that arose during this period was how to collate the Arab Spring with the 1979 revolution. I understand the revolution from books or the mass media. But how do you comprehend the history in which you did not live? I started forgetting history and instead chose 2010 as the origin of history. I did not know when I would stop collecting ‘history’; I just knew that one day it would come to fruition. Finally, 2015 marked a turning point in which history and time had to stop so that I could make up history. After five years in 2020, I started working on this project again. It was while many things had changed, and some had remained the same. I needed time to understand the Times images. That's why I changed my living and studio environment to the Middle East and worked with artists and people. I asked them to read aloud the different narratives I wrote/produced in this project. Using still and moving images, I created a visual article.
This film essay started from getting inspired by poetry and history. This project consists of twelve poetic texts that have been read and recorded by different people. Each poem is for one photo/image, and these images are from various times and places in the Middle East.
I composed the English / Persian poems using collages of New York Times news articles. The New York Times collecting-based project during my student days in the United States was an attempt to inhabit and breathe the "Middle East climate." Looking at my hometown from a distance, I wanted to remember where I came from.
In the end, I got to the point where I knew I had "lived" long enough to leave my version of fictitious news as a kind of alternative history for the future.
For me, the New York Times was illustrating and establishing the history that we all lived through. And now, to reinforce the memory, it revisits what happened. This time the narrator has changed, the current one, often asks questions about her disappeared images and wonders how she has once lived through the war.
How to Leave the History Behind and Refuse to Relive it Every Day? (still), 2020-2021
Part of this project at Arran Gallery in Tehran, 2021.