Subway Surprise, Tehran
November 16, 2011 8:42 AM Subscribe
"Things didn’t happen as I imagined.
posted by taz (10 comments total)
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On the one hand, with the situation in Tehran, I expected the police to arrest me. I also thought that the resulting dress wouldn’t be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. But it turned out to be more homogenous than I envisaged. Most of the passengers wanted to communicate with me and participate in the project. And I enjoyed this attention and collaboration. The point wasn’t their understanding of the project. I didn’t want anything to be imposed on the audience or participants. I wanted ordinary people to encounter their own personalities without any preconceptions about contemporary art. More than anything, I wanted something to emerge that is shared — between me and everyday metro passengers." The story of fashion student Shirin Abedinirad
who conceived and carried out an unusual (and unusually bold) performance art experiment by asking Tehran metro passengers to donate their rubbish to pin on her dress.
In less heartwarming news from Tehran
, actress Marzieh Vafamehr was initially sentenced to 90 lashes and a year in jail for her performance in a film exploring censorship of artists in Iran (trailer
), so it becomes more readily apparent how even such a seemingly light, innocent and charming experiment might require rather exceptional courage on the part of Ms. Abedinirad.
Shirin's subway video is featured on Uncut
("Free Speech on the Frontline"), which currently covers freedom of expression stories and issues in Iran, China, Mexico and Egypt (and which, according to the site, plans to add eight more regional editors over the next two years). "Uncut" is a feature of Index on Censorship
, a site that offers news and information on free expression from around the world. "Index on Censorship was founded as a magazine in 1972, when editor Michael Scammell and a group of writers, journalists and artists, led by the British poet Stephen Spender
, took to the page in defence of the basic human right of freedom of expression for writers in the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries."