Jaume Simo Sabater Garau
& Mark Mangion

Iran 2005 (2), 2005 time 2:48 sec

Why Iran?
Is it for the current religious and political situation, which Iranian people are living? Is it for the beauty of its landscape? Is it for the magnificent history? What is it?

As exiles constantly living in foreign environments, our practice demands a sense of discovery, not by feeling connected to a single culture but the necessity of discovering a more universal identity through interest in travel. Through a sense of pain: dispossession and dissatisfaction, we are in an eternal struggle to tell stories by attempting to understand ourselves and the The Other.

Most importantly, this Project was an existential adventure to really think about and debate important questions about art and society.
The specificity of this political, social and historic location would function as a vehicle to connect Iran like an action, which we set for ourselves to begin to understand a social political environment through observation and dialogue.
We were interested in the idea of The Other and the journey to discover and map out, yet we intended not to get caught up in any clichéd statements on the Orient and its central role in the Western World.
In the challenging void of our landscape we try to be present in the centre of the political discussion in contemporary art by avoiding any immediate visual associations with mass media, culture, history and politics. This, we believe, enabled us to explore this place with visual freedom rather than any speculative and scripted self-agenda.

In our first piece of a series of works, we focused on a silent monumental landscape and an imageless sound. The footage was shot just north west of the Dasht e Kavir Desert in a remote landscape, which is of major historical and current political relevance.
This Silent image repeatedly cuts to a total void; a lack of any image and a seemingly distant audio recording from another time fades in.
The audio was taken from one of our many simple and friendly encounters with generous people, willing to understand us beyond any predetermined ideal. This particular one was close at heart because it not only involved a new acquaintance who was willing to share all with us, but a situation creating incredible links between very distant and separate worlds. A person struggling with language attempts to communicate a personal story and an historic and geographical account; though his story is cut in such a way that he enters a self-doubting and aggressive monologue where he is the sole protagonist debating and struggling whilst telling his own story. This struggle and generosity was the foundation of this solid but strange relationship.
Language played a major role in this struggle to discover and communicate. It was this philological struggle that seemed to be an apt metaphor for something a lot greater and imminent and suggestive. The landscape also functioned similarly yet the two were dislodged from one another. The image moved away from the predictable political landscape issues and instead focused on its beauty and strangeness and its transient state.