Audiovisual Performance Set

In Islamic terminology, the term makruh refers to a detestable act although it is neither forbidden nor entirely allowed. It exists within a space of liminal ambivalence – disapproved of but not punishable. This audiovisual set is inspired by this concept, as well as the contrasts between the dark ambiance and tranquility of techno-electronic music paired with Middle-Eastern and West-Asian musical motifs.

The visual elements of the performance are created using 3D point clouds of ancient architecture, 2D videos processed through visual programming and creative coding, as well as digital 3D illustrations of reconstructed structures. Digital technologies allow the artist to examine ancient Persian architectures, their sacred geometries, histories and relationship to Islamic concepts like makruh, from a contemporary vantage point. 
The visual materials are modified by the soundscape and processed in real time. The sound design includes field recordings of Iranian regional and ritual music. The beats are based on local patterns. Digital synthesizers produce the audio element.

The performance is composed of seven elements. Together they depict the cyclical formation of an entity and include the following phases: passivity, avoidance, constriction, conformity, elevation, expiry and revival. 
The number seven holds significant meaning in Arabic culture, acting as a metaphor for infinity or completion. It is invoked frequently in prophetic narrations and sacred texts to illustrate cosmic scale.

These seven stages are based on the verb forms Enfeāl, which is used to assign the meaning of affectability to a verb and Efteāl, which is used to assign the meaning of obedience to a verb as well as the subject’s influence. These words are generally used in both Arabic and Farsi in the fields of science, mathematics, physics and chemistry (alchemy).

Enfeāl [passivity] : Affectability; the effect created by the subject in the passive
Emtenā [Avoidance] : To stop, to avoid accepting or doing something
Enqebāz [Constriction] : To constrict, to draw together, to become narrower and tighter without making a change in physical characteristics
Entebāq [Conformity] : To conform, to accord, to be equalized, to adjust to new circumstances
Ertefā [Hight] : Prominence, elevation, the vertical distance from head to foot or from base to top of something, an Arabic poetic device
Enqezā [Expiry] : To pass, to end, termination
Ehyā [Revival] : To regain life

2021 | Tehran Contemporary Sounds | Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany.

Produced with funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.