Monday, December 31, 2007

I Woke Up To ...

Last night I woke up to your scent!

I dream of smells of the places I have once passed
Of people I have once known
Of that jasmine shrub
That grew so big, it boiled over the garden wall

I dream of you, my brother and dad
I dream of the dusty ruins near my childhood
I dream of your hands
Close to my face
The scent of Jasmine crashing into my mind

Last night!
It was you again
wasn't it!

Central Composition, Fall 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Fourth Essence !

Last night at 10:25 I saw Kite Runner (2007) directed by Marc Forster, based on a great book by Khaled Hosseini. I always said that in many ways Cinema is in a great debt to literature. This debt becomes greater when it comes to a script adaptation. So I say the best way to see a movie based on a book is to consciously ignore the book and hear the story one more time through moving images, as if we hear it for the first time. I’ll write more about Kite Runner (2007) but for now: The performances are very good considering the bilingual script. Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada (Hassan) is outstanding; a young boy with a warm face and a smile that fills the screen. Also Homayoun Ershadi’s (Baba) witty dialogue stays with you long after the movie is finished. Conclusion: See it.

The forgotten Number 2 from the previous post: Brooklyn college students won their battle against Censorship. The Brooklyn College graduate art exhibition got closed last year by the Brooklyn War Memorial, where the exhibition was held. The Students sued the city for the violation of their civil rights and they won. Now the city should give the students a written apology from Spiegel plus $750 per students plus $42,500 to cover legal expenses. My source of information was Art News September issue. I meant to write about it for more than 3 months and I kept forgetting it.

This Christmas just happens to be very similar to many Christmases that I’ve seen back home; sitting at the dining room table, surfing the web and watching a movie on TV: But not every movie, Charles Dickens classic tale, A Christmas Carol. When I was a kid, each year they showed Mickey’s Christmas Carol, in Iran. Tonight my fate is the same with a minor difference. I am watching A Christmas Carol movie of 1938 instead of the animation one. I love this one: in the 1938 movie, Scrooge's nephew offers Mr. Cratchit a bottle of Port and says "Port is the fourth essence of Christmas spirit."

Kite Runner directed by Marc Forster 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Yalda !

Writing a quick Happy Yalda wish has just turned to a hardest thing on earth. Eyal’s Salmon Casserole is baking itself in the oven, 4 dirty pots should wait for me to be back from the party and I am late for the party. And I keep forgetting what I want to say.

Let’s go by the list:

1- I want to introduce the new member of my electronic family: my new Juke cell phone. Her name is Artemisia Gentileschi; and she is as artistic as a cell phone can be. She also has a very sharp edge, which lives up to the name I gave her. Artemisia was an Italian painter in early Baroque period. This is her picture.

2- I forgot the number 2: no really I did.

3- What do you know about Zoor Khaneh in general: Zoor-Khaneh is a gymnasium for traditional Iranian martial arts (Varzesh-e Pahlevani). And do you know any books about it or its history or any article, Anything! (Please let me know.)

4- Happy Yalda and enjoy your holidays !

An Autumn Leaf, November 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Snow: Familiar Becomes Unfamiliar.

Grounds for Sculpture was founded in 1992 by J. Seward Johnson Jr. He is known more through his art - real-size bronze sculptures - rather than his grandfather, Robert Wood Johnson, the founder of Johnson & Johnson Company. The park and its museum exhibit more than 200 sculptures from different artists as well as pieces by Johnson himself.

It is not a wrong observation to call Seward Johnson an Impressionist sculptor. Apart from his choice of subject matter, which mostly presents regular people in their daily activities, Johnson II translates French Impressionismt paintings into sculpted sceneries. Sometimes these painted bronze bodies and their suited surroundings create an optical illusion.

In Seward Johnson’s work the illusion works opposite Sotto in su technique. In his work a recognizable three-dimensional object looks like a more familiar two-dimensional painting: that of Monet for instance. In Sotto in su a painting looks as if it really exists. It is a false impression that makes the viewer see a two-dimensional painting as a three-dimensional object. This art technique was common in 17th century Italian Baroque art.

Now add some snow to a familiar painted sculpture: the snow that does not exists in the original impressionist painting. OK what we can have now are: 1- A puzzled art historian 2- A new piece of art: something that is familiar because of many impressionist paintings we have seen, but also mysterious because of the weather conditions. A surreal piece!

Part of Nature by Seward Johnson, 2000,
Grounds for Sculpture, NJ, Photo on Dec. 2007

If It Were Time by Seward Johnson, 1999
Grounds for Sculpture, NJ, Photo on Dec. 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Blue Window !

Every girl must have a Blue Window. Blue window is more important than Shoes; it is warmer than Hot Buttered Rum; it is a necessity that won’t fit in your closet, and it is more essential than a little black dress for a girl. A blue window is an escape place. It is a place where one take refuge after a long run; If you don't get any comfort from your own comfy corner you need to find your blue window to escape to from time to time.

Who knows how many things I have forgotten in that past few days. The forgetfulness was an addition to things I had to do. Too many emails unanswered, too many calls waiting for a call back, too many things to do. So I decided to escape from all these to my blue window. Indeed when it is time for the blue window, the snowstorm does not play any role. So I left Princeton and took refuge in my old neighborhood, New Haven. I spent a few lovely days with my old buddies, got some job done and now, I am ready.

Blue Window (Reflection II), Dec.2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Where Is the Reader ?

Yesterday I went to Professor Abdolkarim Soroush’s lecture, The Skeptical Prophets. It was a very enjoyable talk. Professor Soroush is a very articulate speaker; he specifically is very accurate on his sources. So I enjoyed it beyond any measures.

During and after the talk the issue of the reader – audience, spectator or addressees – got my attention. As an after thought to Roland Barthes’ essay, Death of the Author, I think (perhaps as a modern approach) while revising a literature text, ancient or contemporary, we should always be conscious about the intended audience of that text. In the process of understand a text, although we focus more on what we understand from the text and we do not immediately occupy ourselves with author’s intentions, in my mind it is crucial to recognize who was/is the targeted audience of that piece. As I imagine every author had his readers in mind. Of course the whole idea of interpretation and hermeneutic is at stake here. Now my problem with my own thought is this: if we believe that there are texts which are meant for everyone, that they are good for all times - a text timeless and addressed to all - in that case what will happen to the importance of the reader? does it increase or decrease?

The Writer Away, San Juan Bautista, California, Fall 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Snow in 08540

It started snowing early this morning. So I changed my plans from visiting Fazal Sheikh’s photo exhibition to a mug of hot chocolate and reading BBC news on Bibi-Huryeh. Luckily, Khavar Sultan was parked in the garage; shoveling Kharvar would be the last thing on my list today!

I will catch up this enchanting photo exhibition on Tuesday. Beloved Daughters: Photgraphs by Fazal Sheikh has combined two of Sheikh's projects: one focuses the dispossessed widows in northern India (reminds me of Water directed by Deepa Mehta!)and the other confronts the lives of young girls in a traditional society that its merits are changing by modernity. Since early October I wanted to see this exhibition; Sheik’s black & white photograph presented on the exhibition banner was so striking that I still cannot take the image out of my head. The exhibition will be up until January 6th 2008.

Snow in 08540, Princeton, December 2007

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I am Iran

I really don’t know how to begin this particular post; things have happened so fast recently that my limited mind has problem adjusting with it. I start a sentence and before I finish, I start deleting: letter-by-letter, word-by-word I erase. The main problem perhaps is my unsettled mind or maybe I have many things to say and I hardly know where to start. It is not a story. It is neither fiction nor nonfiction. It is only an attempt.

For me it started with Nazy’s creative ideas and her careful collection of images. It is Vaaleh’s music that covers the slideshow. As I said it is an attempt and we can make it worthwhile only if you share your thoughts about it with us. It is an open project and I am happy to welcome you to participate in "I am Iran". If you have difficulty watching the link on YouTube please check it here.