encounters (work - indefinitely - in progress)
"Encounters" is a collection of journal entries, short films, & photographs narrating my journey through the wondrous and enigmatic lands of Iran.
A multimodal piece disrupting the linearity of beginnings and ends of the conventional trip to a foreign country. The assemblage of artifacts attempts to capture the intensities that moved me, a visceral response towards my encounters with otherness, with alterity, which created space to unravel fixed certitudes and beliefs. As I currently assemble the fragments, the voyage is still ongoing - in mind, body, and memory - forever evoking a sense of fractured and ambiguous experiences.
My very first memory is of my host’s radiant and nostalgic smile. Then, the wide loud crowded highways and its ballet of old Peugeots and colourful taxis. The majestic white mountains overlooking the city, a contrasting expression of nature’s vibrant sovereign presence. The cold polluted air weaving in and out my covered hair. Green, purple, red, and pink neon lights promising something exciting...
The immensity of this concrete jungle felt electrifying, mesmerizing, as if filled with thousands of secrets that no one could steal.
This first taxi ride carried me to the portal of the unknown, to the unpredictability of the voyage, to a land of many concerns and enchantment.
This land slowly unfolding was not separable from its creations, or viewed as something prior, waiting to be captured by my film camera. Unfettered and enigmatic. Its uniqueness is the articulation of the multiplicity of the stories of its history expressed by its inhabitants, human and all other earthily denizens, the leafless oaks, the birds, the street cats… To believe only one of these truths would be unconceivable; or even unethical, as I often reminded myself.
A quest to timeless narratives is not this land’s promise. Stories, souvenirs, and tales will soon poor like floods, penetrate my ears, caress my skin, infiltrate my lungs teaching me nuances, ambiguity, and complexity.