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A brief review of the events of the 4th- 18th of June 2000
by Tirdad Zolghadr

After a few months in Tehran, I managed to get hold of an exhibition space at the Museum of Modern Art, in what was usually the reading room of the public library. The exhibition was to take place within the context of the Swiss Cultural Week held by the Swiss embassy, which included projections of Swiss-made movies (Journey of Hope), talks (Adolf Muschg), a photo exhibit (Switzerland through the eyes of Kimia Rahgozar), concerts (Brigitte Meyer), music courses and suchlike.

We prepared for the exhibition during the week of 4th- 11th of June, spending most of our time driving around the city to meet people. Most of the conversations that ensued were captured on dv, discussions either of Tehran as an urban space, or of the prospects of the project itself, particularly in view of the state of contemporary art in Iran (e.g. urban historian Kaveh Ehsani, who offered us a guided tour of south Tehran, curator Farhad Azarin, photographer Massoud Massoumi, painter and critic Khosro Hassanzadeh).

We also managed to have photos published in the newspapers Bahar and Hayat-e No, on three occasions. The initial idea had been to regularly publish photos in an extension of the gallery space into a public space (the newspaper). It didn’t quite work out the way we had wished, due to what turned out to be artistic differences with the editors of the cultural pages.

click to enlarge

The exhibition, which was held on the 11th - 18th of June 2000, and the content of which usually changed from one day to the next, included the following:

  • a sound installation by Solvej and Christophe Rezaii, who embedded sounds, songs, and conversations that Solvej recorded in Tehran into a quasimusical framework of his own
  • video stills of public spaces in Tehran, by Peter
  • short video films of public spaces, including excerpts from interviews, by Patricia
  • excerpts from interviews I would conduct at the exhibition, asking the visitors for reactions to the whole thing
  • the websites (by Andrew), and (by Andrew and myself)
  • a video by installation artist Afshan Ketabchi, in which she films and comments a panorama of northern Tehran
  • two short video films by photographer Naazi Neyvandi, one on bus lines in Tehran, one on bakeries
  • statistics, slogans, and poetry in farsi calligraphy about the situation of woman artists in Iran (cf., “Elham Alirezai and the Swiss Cultural Week”), by painter Elham Alirezai
  • a series of interviews conducted by two young woman employees at the museum of modern art, on what passers-by knew or thought about Switzerland
  • printouts of pictures taken during the week of the exhibition
  • documentation on contemporary art and web design in Switzerland

At least two or three of us were always present at the exhibition, to discuss or present individual projects – or groupproject as a whole – to anyone who had questions.

The projects which were abandoned, or which weren’t carried out to the end for lack of time, included:

  • a poster, designed together with photographer and graphic designer Hamid Eskandari
  • a video documentary on schools for Afghani refugees on the outskirts of Tehran, with cameraman Kamran Naseri
  • a short video film based on a scenario by screenplay writer Mahmoud Aidin
  • a performance on the subject of covert social interactions in public spaces in Tehran, by performance artist Roxanna Shapour

On the last day of the exhibition, we held a roundtable discussion which lasted several hours, with all the participants, and the visitors which were present. The event was recorded on dv.