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"72 "Virgins", Geneva
Exploring Misinterpretation and Religious Symbolism through Performance and Video Art

"72 "Virgins", Geneva
Location: Geneva, 2011
HD video, 17:42 min., color, sound, no Dialogue
Curator: Madeleine Amsler
Camera: Vania Aillon
Photograph: Richard Le Quellec
Artistic Intervention in Urban Space
Supported by: Laps Association (Madeleine Amsler & Richard Le Quellec), Geneva, Switzerland

The artwork titled "72 "Virgins"" is a multimedia project that utilizes performance and video art to explore themes of misinterpretation and religious symbolism. The project, organized by Madeleine Amsler and supported by the Laps Association, took place in Geneva in 2011.
The work consists of an HD video with a duration of 17 minutes and 42 seconds. The video is presented in color and includes sound but no dialogue. It was filmed by Vania Aillon and features photographs taken by Richard Le Quellec.
The performance aspect of the artwork is orchestrated by artist Shaham Entekhabi, who published a flashmob-like "call for participation" to invite individuals to contribute to the project. Surprisingly, the response to the call was significant, with a diverse range of participants, including men, coming forward to be part of the project.
In a satirical and ironic manner, "72 "Virgins"" alludes to the misinterpretation of a specific passage in the Quran that suggests martyrs will be rewarded with 72 virgins in heaven. However, the Quranic reference actually pertains to "Huris," celestial beings who await believers in paradise. By exploring this misinterpretation, the artwork seeks to challenge prevailing stereotypes and promote a more nuanced understanding of cultural and religious beliefs.
Notably, the performance took place in urban spaces without seeking formal authorization, defying established norms and embracing artistic autonomy. This intentional act of subversion highlights the transformative potential of art in reclaiming public spaces and provoking critical dialogue.
Through the combination of performance and video art, "72 "Virgins"" aims to engage viewers in a reflective examination of their own assumptions and misconceptions surrounding religious symbolism. By blurring the boundaries between cultural traditions and religious doctrines, the artwork invites viewers to question and deconstruct preconceived notions.