Bryan Brown, a colleague at my performance studies department recently pointed me in the direction of Shirin Neshat as an example of a Iranian contemporary artist making poignant, precise and stunning film, photography and media works in New York. Whilst I had seen Shirin in interviews on illegal Persian satellite channels when I was living in Tehran last year, and began applying think swathes of black kohl to my eyes with cultish devotion, I had not seen any of her artworks, not even her highly publicized ‘Women Without Men‘, which won her the Silver Lion  66th Venice Film Festival in 2009.

There is plenty written about Shirin and her work, and I really love the use of vocal music and in Turbulent (1998). But, while I was scrabbling around for interviews of the softly spoken artist, I found the following:

The experience of watching this chopped up and always already unfinished video is SO unsatisfying that it created a craving inside of me. A performance of incompleteness and process representing the before and after of a work-in-progress screening of Shirin’s not-yet-successful film, her reticence and humility in presenting the work make for a tantalizing non-trailer. What are your experiences of watching this clip? Judging from the relatively low play count (especially compared to the tens of thousands who have watched her other interviews), people aren’t interested in the unfinished. So why am I?!

Also, watch this, he’s lovely.

Noam and the wail

The breadth of Noam Chomsky’s intellectual span has been an inspiration to my academic ambitions for as long as I could count case studies. My claws may instinctively extend in response to his views on the Iranian threat, but overall, I have faith in his perspective. Some say I have faith in too many things.

Considering his warnings of the two looming realities we will face in the future, namely nuclear war and environmental disaster, I wonder: what will the world be when I can marshal information and analysis with comparably precise and impassioned sincerity? Who will be listening? Will there still be experts and opinions, when in the past they went so unheeded?

Watch this full unedited video and come up with some questions of your own.