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Design and development:  Sohrab Kashani

Iran USA ⧚ Peter Freund

Sazmanab presented three works of video art by Peter Freund in which sketch poetic overlaped between the histories of Iran and the USA.

Acorus Calamus (2012)
In Farsi with English subtitles
Single-channel video
10:00
A long take of a U.S. flag blowing in the wind is met with the story of a scene unfolding beneath what the image reveals. A narrative voiceover describes in oblique degrees a picnic, a parade, a riot, a rally, an orgy, an execution (a lynching?), a victory, and remorse. The problematic relationship between image, voice, and subtitle itself poses a metaphor for the question of “translating the other.”

The End of an Error (2013)
In Farsi with English subtitles
Three-channel video installation
10:00
The 1954 Army-McCarthy Hearings marked the unmistakable beginning of the end of the “Red Scare” period in the United States. Produced for the sixtieth anniversary of the televised hearings, “The End of an Error” refashions the archival record to take a sideways look at this important historical event. By fictionalizing the story as a history lesson narrated from contemporary Iran (voice in Farsi with English subtitles), this three-projection video installation re-positions the expected narrative centre and reports the demise of the “communist threat” from the vantage point of what has since emerged in the American imagination as the “terrorist state.” Ultimately, the piece asks: From what position do we remember a triumph in history?

Erased Mossadegh (2015)
In Farsi with English subtitles
Single-channel video
10:00
This “subtractive commemoration” of the 1953 coup d’état in Iran utilizes false testimony as a medium to explore the nature of historical memory. Ousted Premier Mohammed Mossadegh, played by Nasser Rahmaninejad, alternately delivers three inconsistent accounts of the coup drawn directly from the language of the Shah’s memoirs, the CIA planning documents for the coup, and a celebrated leftist’s harangue against U.S. imperialism. Not a word of Dr Mossadegh’s is deployed. Woven together as a single testimonial given by the wandering protagonist, the texts decisively fail to add up. In light of today’s historical revisionism, this failure begins to reflect on the uses of testimony and documentation to cover over not only the factual record but also, more radically, the inescapably fictive dimension of historical memory.

Peter Freund is a media artist, curator, and scholar based in the San Francisco Bay Area. As an artist, Freund works with film and video in single-channel and installation formats and has exhibited in the USA, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and the Middle East. His current art projects explore the fantasmatic aspect of historical memory. His research and writing focus on art and psychoanalysis. Freund is Associate Professor of Art Practice at Saint Mary’s College of California, where he teaches media art and critical theory.

August 21 – August 27, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, August 21, 2015 – 4-9 PM

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