short video trailer

Caution / Celevland with Mieke Bal, 2005
video, PAL, 09:06 min, color, sound
Cameras: Mieke Bal, Tim Beal, Linda Ehrlich, Benita Moore, John Orlock and Yianni Yessios
Photography: Scott Cohen, Chelsea Meyers
Thanks to: Charles K.László and Aimee Marcereau de Galen
and Baker Nord Center for the Humanities and Kelvin Smith Library of Case Western Reserve Univeristy, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

"LOOPS & GAPS: Video as Entrance into the Unknown" : All Shahram Entekhabi's collaborative video works with Mieke Bal


Caution responds to performance art. Here, the man reappears on the prestigious oval lawn in front of the library, where students walk by to go to classes. A normal day on an American campus. Nothing is likely to happen, and for a few minutes, that is just what you see, from the distant height of a rooftop, as well as from the frontal and side positions on the ground. The tiny figure walking the middle of the path opposite the high viewing point, strikes as slightly out of place: the gap is put in place, visually. It is also put in place in the performance, as he walks faster than others, as if he had a purpose.
He begins to unroll red-and-white European caution tape, routinely used to block off areas that represent a danger for the public. He knots the end of that tape to a tree. With fierce determination – or is it resigned repetition? – he screens off an area. First, between trees, so as to block off the busiest path that leads to the center of campus. Repetition, constituting a dense sculptural wall of bright colors, establishes the hallmark of the series as video installation. Then, he begins a somewhat longer walk over the lawn to the other side of the oval. After attaching the tape to a tree there, he returns. Color, sculpture, and performance vie for attention as the kick-off media, measured against video’s power to make surface stick on the retina. Some of the images ask how it is that space can get overruled by intervention. When the people behind the tape lose their visibility, or their faces, for example, one can wonder how abstract art – here, blocks of bright red and clear white – takes over figuration as if it had always been lodged at the latter’s heart. Or, whether the walking man is the sculpture, or is it the tape waving in the wind? One wonders, too, about the blandness of the public space before, and its new look after the intervention. And of course, the close-ups of the action are fundamentally different from the long shots, just as the actions differ.
The walk across the lawn is bolder, and longer, and more incomprehensible than the earlier, shorter itinerary. His walk is steady, remains faster than “normal,” and his face remains unreadable. At one point, he is himself inside the space he is creating, turning sculpture inside out. But this being inside is only for the performer; everyone else is kept out. This inside-outside dynamic creates a new gap, between expectation and the small change effected upon it by this stranger. Instead of protecting the people from accidents, the caution tape pushes them out of the space they consider legitimately theirs.
When the act is completed, he turns around and walks away, just as briskly as his arrival stride, trailing the last end of the tape behind him. Mid-path he tosses the remaining spool into the bushes, and he is gone. The image from the roof shows the difference he leaves behind. He has come and gone, but the space remains definitively altered.
Mieke Bal

Visiting Scholars Collaborate to Shoot Film on Case Campus
Shahram Entekhabi, an Iranian-born artist and architect, and Mieke Bal, art historian and cultural theorist from the University of Amsterdam, engage in an 8-week project as part of a seminar program sponsored by Case's Baker-Nord Center for the Humanites.
“We wanted to make a politically responsive film that was not propaganda,” said Bal. Many of the interviews were conducted prior to their visit to Cleveland. The artists sought answers to what is home, how secure did people feel and what do country borders do for a person.
Iranian-born artist and architect Shahram Entekhabi pauses by the oval in front of the Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve University. He opens a suitcase and takes out a roll of red and white striped caution tape. At op the library with a camera rolling is Mieke Bal, art historian and cultural theorist from the University of Amsterdam. Bal captures the performance as Entekhabi unravels the caution tape, wraps it around trees and crisscrosses the oval. Students unexpectedly walk into the film’s frames as they bypass the barrier or weave under and over the tape as they head to other places. The performance film, Caution, is the outcome of the collaboration between two Visiting Fellows of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities in Case’s College of Arts and Sciences. They are participants in the Baker-Nord Center’s 2004 seminar series on “Homelands and Security,” which is the first of four annual integrated Senior Faculty Fellowship seminar programs at the university. The artists join this year’s seminar group that is comprised of faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences and from the Cleveland Institute of Art.
(Susan Griffith · Senior News and Information Specialist at Case Western Reserve University · (1950 - 2022))

"Caution" appeared at the following exhibitions and festivals, among others: 2009: How Many Angels Can Dance On the Head of a Pin?, curated by Christopher Marinos. “Heaven”, 2nd Athens Biennal, Greece
2009: Going the Distance: Video Works in Migratory Aesthetics. ,Tampere Art Museum, Tampere, Finland
2008: Going the Distance: Video Works in Migratory Aesthetics., Fremantle Fibonacci Centre, Fremantle, Australia
2005: What? Me? A Racist?, exhibition, Pankow Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2005: Bologna Flash Art Show, Sofitel Hotel, Bologna, Italy
2005: Irgendwoanders, international video-art exhibition on migration, Hildesheim, Germany
2005: E-flux Video Rental project, Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany

شهرام  انتخابی    尚莱姆_恩特卡比
Shahram Entekhabi is an German-Iranian- artist, curator & architect, currently living & working across Tehran, Iran - Berlin, Germany and Europe.