The video titled Caution / Cleveland is one of four collaborative works by artist Shahram Entekhabi and Dutch cultural theorist Mieke Bal. These videos explore the theme of 'migration and aesthetic of everyday life.' Entekhabi's ongoing projects, known as 'artistic, Architectural and Performative Interventions in Urban Space,' began in 2001.
The concept of Parasite Architecture, which is central to Entekhabi's work, is rooted in the idea of the 'informal.' This concept encompasses anything temporary, incomplete, weak, or formless. It draws inspiration from various artists, theorists, and architects who have explored the idea of the informal since the 1960s. The analysis of Parasite Architecture involves questioning aspects of social communication, feminist deconstruction of space, nomadism, psycho-geography, and the influence of virtual reality.
Within the informal concept, Parasite Architecture connects with topics of migration and cultural diversity. Entekhabi has created informal extensions to existing architectures, such as museum structures, or constructed independent temporary spaces in different parts of the world. These informal architectures are always located in public spaces and are made using caution tape. The tape symbolizes safety zones, restricted areas, and inclusivity/exclusivity in public space. The artworks explore the relationship between performance, public space, and time.
In the case of Caution / Cleveland , the video responds to performance art. It depicts a man appearing on the oval lawn in front of a library on an American campus. The video captures his walk along the path, unrolling red-and-white caution tape commonly used to block off hazardous areas. He fastens the tape to trees, creating barriers and visually disrupting the space. The repetitive action forms a vibrant sculptural wall, documented in the video installation.
As the man continues his journey across the lawn, attaching the tape to another tree on the other side of the oval, the video explores the interplay between color, sculpture, and performance. It prompts contemplation about how interventions can override and transform spaces. The video juxtaposes close-ups of the action with long shots, highlighting the distinction between abstract art and figuration and provoking thoughts about the alteration of public space before and after the intervention.
The man's confident and purposeful walk, faster than normal, raises questions about his role as a sculpture and whether the tape itself becomes the focal point. The intervention creates a divide between the performer and those excluded from the space, challenging their sense of belonging. Once the act is complete, the man walks away, leaving the space permanently transformed, while viewers observe the lasting impact from a rooftop perspective. Despite his departure, the space retains the definitive changes brought about by his presence.