Wednesday, August 02, 2006


My argument may tremble the first brick of the argument. Defining the origin is prior to navigate its relations with politics and Art. Origin's substratum is identity. I wish to discuss this substratum.
A traditional statement known by our hearts mutters in our ears: "be you self". Identity has two literal significations. One is sameness and the other is in its distinctiveness and uniqueness. Thus that true identity is defined the identical identity. The defined identity tethers the otherness and the process of becoming of the "self" (if there's still one). Identity stands out of now. It's an entity out of history. And when it's in, it's completely out of contemporary context; the institutions wants you to remember that you're ancestor has been Kourosh the Great or they define you as being in 1400 years ago in Islam's conception epoch. My idea goes completely against what power-based institutions and even occidental Humanism has known about the Orient. For occidental Humanism in 19 th century the Orient was a simple-minded representation. The Orient couldn't be anything but an object for Orientalists like Ingres. Things last. In contemporary art, Turkish baths, Persian carpets and rugs, Arabian harems and their semi-naked women, Sultans and Bazaars are replaced with Chador [the veil], collages of mystique, Arabesque and religious texts and motives and poorography. Iranian cinema and art usually exports this merchandise; purchasable because of its Tourism and Exoticism. The easiest way for us is to represent ourselves as we are looked at by the white-western-male subject as "the Other"; "gazed at", and sometimes, "gaped at". Our world is simpler this way. It would have become complicated if, for instance, Iran was represented with its bizarre variations and striking extremes and paradoxes; variations of beliefs (like extreme Laïcité to extreme Islamism) and social contradictions.
I replace this kind of "I" with a schizophrenic one lost in intertextuality; one exactly like a Hermit Crab which inserts its abdomen into a gastropod mollusk shell that it carries about with it for protection. In this situation, the common self-portrait becomes nonsense and Rimbaud appears: Je est un autre (I is an other) and Beckett's The unnamable where he/she/it says "Where I am there is no one but me, who am not" or "I, say I, unbelieving". Diderot is useful also where he speaks with twenty mouths.
In my opinion in the very beginning we have to discuss these "the Other"s:
1. As defined by occidental humanism traces and art market.
2. As the future moments of Becoming process of the lost "self".

Barbad Golshiri