Shahram Entekhabi home

Migrant Media

I will speak about my project called Migrant-media. which includs series of mixed media works on identity conflicts and migration as aesthetic of every day life. And there relationship to Samuell Beckett’s work.

I started the project at 2004 with the a single channel video called “i?” , I was` interested on concept of Samuel Beckett’s only film, called FILM, whit Buster Keaton made 1965 . it is without dialogue, lots of body movement, and, visual impression of the shocking modern city. The film shows how Keaton tried to hide his face to passers-by or public and the camera until the final shot.
what can be more ironic for the viewer who is hungry for a realistic solutions, when finally Keaton shows to the camera and it turns out that his face is deformed due to a damaged eye.
I am also interested on the theoretical nature of FILM and not so much on any of its more modernistic issues. The concept of involving a Hollywood star, is of course, a statement and will make a pre-post-modernist claim aginst the border between popular and high culture. But for me the primary element of that concept is the unusual combination of going around in the public-space and never showing the face.

And also important the relationship between the individual subject and the larger communities. and expanding the idea of the identity crises of an individual person to the larger parts of migrants .Further on, the video “i?” is not a remake of Beckett’s FILM. The differences between his FILM and my video are important. Beckett filmed in black and white, I in color. The figure in Beckett’s film is first of all alone, with his identity crisis; his running and climbing around motivated from mixture of his deeply needs. The video “i?” examining identity in the middle of a multi-cultural city. To Beckett’s twenty-two minutes, I made a 4 minute’s video on loop. The ending statement is gone, it is replaced by a full circle, which the end is beginning, when the figure looks into the mirror while shaving, is the same as the ending. Looking into the mirror is completely different after having been a mirror to others, all day long. The only image that can follow this day is the repeation of first one, the shave in front of a mirror in which we can not Look

Those differences turn the later film into a critical commentary on the earlier one.
But it is also clear that this is a dialogue, not a rejection, of everything that Beckett’s film includes but keeps hidden: for me is very important, the idea of going out in a public space keeping the face hidden. The later film try to discover those hidden elements. and it is also an moving toward to a cultural artifact. This is also my attention of discovering various aspects of Beckett’s work. knowing that the written word would have a difficult time for understanding.
My project is also a comment on culture-crossing: one vertical so to say, to other artworks from the past, here, Beckett’s and Keaton’s FILM, and a horizontal one, in the present, between fine art and the popular culture.

I want to continue speaking on The Concept of the Series Migrant Media,
These videos, reflecting the everyday life of the migrant and simplifying it in to single acts:
travelling, looking for work, entering the public space, offering cake on his birthday, standing in the street with a bunch of flowers, walking in the desert to infinity, and many more.

This conclusion is the same as the loop-concept. , endlessly repeating entrance and exit, while mixing that social reality with the collapse of the look: looking as being-looked-at. It is also a research of the media that have formed our visual consciousness, the works showing that the temporal looping which colors video installation is the same with a multiple “looping” that is visual, social, and media centeric. The videos show a constant interruption, sometimes a crash of the action, sometimes a visual break of movement, as another way of creating never-ending stories.

The films reflect the medium in which they are made, to the point of breaking the capacity the medium itself. At the same time, they reflect on the twin issues of ranking among media; in particular, the major position of painting in the Western artistic tradition since the Renaissance, on the one hand, and the decoy images compose for the future migrants, who are attracted to busty blondes and fast cars, both in the same way flashy.
In the other videos which can be related to Beckett’s work ,are these tiny events, in turn, also with interruptions, gaps, and disappointments.
- Craving for love, in video-painting installation Flower
- Trying to make a small section of public space his , in performances Caution and Attenzione
- looking for work, in video Rockefeller Boulevard
- and some more.

And finaly, Desire of community, in video Alcazar.

Migrant Media, Shahram Entekhabi, Artits talk/discussion between artists: Dorothy Cross, Atom Egoyan, Michael Craig-Martin and Shahram Entekhabi,Tate Modern, London, UK. June-10th, 2006