Being without Attendance

Mahroo Movahedi
Being without Attendance
2014 / photographs

Photographs in collaboration with fellow students from Masters in Transdisciplinary Studies, by: Brandon Farnsworth, Denis Handschin, Marc Latzel

Being without Attendance

My goal is to create new sorts of presence. Due to the difficulties in obtaining a visa, I could not join the rest of the group in Hong Kong. I then decided that the next best thing would be to have traces of my life go in my stead. Therefore, I gave my sabzeh, as well as my childhood shoes (carried from Iran to Zurich) to one of the students, who then performed and documented with photographs two separate projects of mine in Hong Kong.

The first of these projects involved my childhood shoes being photographed in different situations all over Hong Kong. The shoes act as a placeholder for my physical body. The photographs taken of them try and show the possibility of an impossibility, namely the concept of being without presence. I suggest an in-between space, not real, not ideal, but possible. With this work, I hope that the shoes can create a personal experience, even without being there in person. Furthermore, they are also the symbol of an imagined, fluid space, ebbing between the real and the surreal.

My shoes visualize what these stories are unlocks a further aspect of my work, which has the rich tapestry of our human journey at its core.

Sabzeh means «spring sprouts», and symbolizes the concepts of rebirth and renewal, often associated with spring. In Iran, it is customary for families to begin sprouting wheat, barley, or lentils one or two weeks before Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, in order that they sprout before the holiday. The sabzeh grows quickly, and should be used on the thirteenth day of the New Year (Sizdeh Bedar). For the second of my two projects that took place in Hong Kong, I sent my sabzeh with one of the students to be put in a body of running water in Hong Kong on the appropriate day of the Iranian New Year. The act is meant to symbolize the purging of all sickness and bad luck that has been collected in the growing plant from the household. In this case, putting the sabzeh in the waters of Hong Kong takes on additional symbolism, in that it can also be interpreted as a way of organically fusing different cultures and traditions into one new hybrid.

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