RE-DIRECTING: EAST Conversations | Amirali Ghassemi “Iran. Making Space for New Media”

Conversation # 19
Amirali Ghassemi “Iran. Making Space for New Media”

June 25, 2014, 6 p.m., CCA Laboratory Building 
The presentation is held in English.

Amirali Ghassemi
“Iran. Making Space for New Media”
The Tehran of the nineteen nineties was not really acquainted with new media; the handful of galleries preferred to stick with the norms and dedicate themselves to showing painting, sculpture and, much more rarely, photography. Using images, posters and video extracts, the presentation sets out to shed some light on the progress of new media art in Iran.
The talk begins with the belated emergence of media art toward the end of the last decade of twentieth century and looks at the reason why it blossomed in the early two thousands before languishing, forgotten, for several years. The forces behind its recent powerful and independent comeback are then addressed. In the absence of funding from either the government or abroad, the development of the new media art scene has only been possible thanks to collective efforts and organic self-organisation. The presentation takes video art in Iran and the way it has forged its own way ahead over the past fourteen years as a case study.
Tehran’s new media scene is expanding into other cities, such as Isfahan, Sanandaj and Mashahad. At the same time, a few independent initiatives are try to push the back the boundaries in order to open up the space to more interdisciplinary practices by organising exhibitions and running festivals geared toward video art, sound and interactive projects and digital art, as well as holding regular audiovisual performance events.

Amirali Ghasemi is a Tehran-born artist, graphic designer and curator who currently lives and works on the move. He graduated with a BA in graphic design from Central Tehran Azad University in 2004, his emphasis having been on research into digital art history. In 1998, he founded Parkingallery, an independent project space in Tehran and then built on this by setting up, an online platform for young Iranian artists, in 2002. His photography, videos and designs have been shown at a range of international festivals and exhibitions, winning him awards and recognition. As a curator, he has directed a host of exhibitions, workshops and talks for Parkingallery’s projects. He co-curated “Urban Jealousy”, the 1st International Roaming Biennial of Tehran (2008-2009) and four editions of the Limited Access Festival for Video and Performance (2007-2013). This was followed by his involvement in myriad projects for institutions, project spaces and universities in Germany, the Netherlands, Serbia, Great Britain, Egypt, Turkey, the United States, Brazil, Canada, France, Sweden, Belgium, China and India. Ghasemi has been a guest lecturer at the Berlin University of the Arts, the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, the Malmo Academy of Arts, Ohio State University, the Delfina Foundation in London and the ICI in New York. He was selected as the guest curator for the CCBRUGGE in 2010 and Devi Art Foundation, India in 2012. Along with his independently curated programmes, such as The Invisible Present, (Brazil, USA) and Part of me ( France- Tehran), he served as a guest organiser, programming the video art section for the Rotterdam Film Festival and Göteborg International Film Festival in January and February 2013.
Ghasemi works with photography, video, installation and interactive projects, as well as writing about the local arts scene and contemporary Iranian art for a number of magazines and on his own blog. He has a long-term curatorial project, IRAN&CO, which consists of an ongoing exhibition and an archive devoted to the representation of Iranian art beyond the country’s borders.