shifting

February 16, 2009 § 1 Comment

1. in the posts below are are fotos by shirin neshat.  iranian-american artist.

2. started reading virginia woolf’s to the lighthouse and the waves yesterday.  she follows moment to moment the changes of the mind body perceptions thoughts reactions the way that the changes interact with each and the world.  these changes propel the fiction forward.  how we relate ourself shifts and glimmers.  there is nothing stable to our identities.  and we are constantly having to create a narrative, a rationale, a past/present/future that holds all of these shifts and quirks together into a recognizable whole. this whole then dissipates and our changes slip out of our constructed sense of self into the larger world.

3. the first time i saw shirin neshat’s work was in 2006 in palestine right before i got pregnant in a book about women artists of the 20th century.  her work stood so clear and different from the other women represented.  and i loved it.  even though the description of her work in the book was somewhat dismissive of her and her popularity.  implying that her work was facile and overly palpable.

4. woolf work connects us to the body so often.  to the earth and the sea and then back again to our memories and our strange thoughts and then to the way our sensations and our thoughts and our emotions collide and ride each other.  the way that the body and language are intertwined.

5. neshat obviously also explores the connections between the body and language.  but what i find appealing in both artists is that woolf uses water and waves as a metaphor for the ways that we think and feel.  and neshat work, with persian lettering, looks like little black waves on white skin.

6. neshat in an interview with time magazine:

TIME: Why did you begin your Women of Allah series?

Neshat: On a very personal level I had a lot of questions I needed to answer for myself … The Revolution had transformed the country. My work was really coming to terms with the ideology of the Islamic regime and the Revolution … I was making it for myself. I was more trying to raise questions as opposed to answering them. So these images have that kind of naiveté of an artist living abroad, returning and very sincerely wanting to understand…I’m creating work simply to entice a dialog and that’s all. I do tend to show the stereotype head on and then break it down. There’s the stereotype about the women — they’re all victims and submissive — and they’re not. Slowly I subvert that image by showing in the most subtle and candid way how strong these women are.

7.  the body is constantly changing.  and so are we.  we shift from subject to object. from moment to moment.  from breath to breath.  dreams to waking and then back to dreams.

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