IN THE REALM OF RARE AND ANALOGUES ACCIDENTSby Morehshin Allahyari- January 2013
The historical myth of two images; in 1895 and 1905. Each confused for their reality at a time by the audience… the train, the bullets, passing through the screen, feeding the love for perfect illusions… in fact, so perfect, the audience could not tell the difference… So perfect, the outside and inside worlds of life and image lost contrast coincidentally …for an unspecific period of time….
Running From Tehran to Texas
There is something romantic about running in a desert or through the mountains. To me, its the image of escaping from an empty place to another in search of similarities that make one feel at home. But what makes these similarities unavoidable is that they are forgotten in favor of differences or the meanings they point to…
In reality, Iran was never like Texas… unless it would come down to imagination.. To us, Texas was the the wild west, a big hot desert where everyone owns a gun, rides a horse, drinks and gambles.When things would get chaotic somewhere, people would refer to it as “becoming like Texas”.
Then there was this love… this obsession with Western movies. With those handsome heroes who would never get killed and those beautiful blonde women who would give away everything to be with them. Somehow our lives lacked those pictures… the bullets would always go through. For us, there was no room for happy accidents or happy endings.
Making It All Ours
For years, the roads stretched from Texas to our living room in Tehran. I can close my eyes and see our family, sitting there watching a Farsi dub version of John Wayne movies… mixed with the smell of Persian tea and sunflower seeds… Out of context, censored, re-edited, and misplaced on the Iranian national television.
When growing up, we were told that Iran was the same size as Texas. Thinking about it now, it made sense to exaggerate the size to justify an unknown condition or fact. After all, in Texas everything is about size and perhaps geography happened to be the easiest way to explain it. How else could one calculate the distanced points?
In Iran, John Wayne had a famous voice actor. Perhaps as famous as himself. People had his quotes in Farsi memorized with the same tone. When my father was young, he watched Rio Bravo at a theater in Tehran 7 times in a row…I am never going to read John Wayne’s personal life biography or look for his political affiliation or religious beliefs. I have to keep him in those innocent moments, separated, standing for more than himself.
Gnaw at the Soul in Solitude
With or without songs, dancers live in solitude. While dancing, they are reminded that there is no winning or losing. With or without guns, dancers will end up at the edge of the world. In the most undesirable places. Regardless of the pain and disagreement, dancers are the only nations to unite.
Guns, Bombs, Oil
Something is of course always lost when we get to see only one side. It is for the exact same reason that one must have the courage to confess the pain of the coma-like contrast of life and cinema. In this scenario, somehow we must put it all together to see the big picture; While in the state of unconsciousness, we are stuck at the thin edge of a screen where two worlds, two countries, and two cities separate for the sake of it. I feel helpless standing in the middle. In this chain of accidents, in this battle of guns and bombs, in the pile of my notes, thoughts, and nostalgic memories of Texas and Tehran, the world lacks trust in common sense. Perhaps the bullets will go through, and we will be run over by a train.
IRUS: An intercultural Collaborative Art Show between Artists in Iran and the United States (MA Thesis, June 2009)