Iran, Untitled

Gohar Dashti in this series has depicted a counter-narrative of her homeland both in form and essence of the work. She started “making” her photographs with “Today’s Life and War” (2008) and followed the same path in “Slow Decay” (2010) and “Volcano” (2012).In these three series, consistent with the main flow of the staged photography, she has attended to embed a narrative form in the background of her photos, although this narration fades away gradually. In “Iran, Untitled”, albeit there is a spatial unity that itself makes the possibility of developing the narration and the very title of the series that discloses a meta-narrative, yet here the place is no longer a place but a non-place. The place is a desert in the middle of nowhere. On the other hand, narrations of any form are usually based on language, though in Dashti’s Iran, people’s relationships are not essentially a vocalized relationship. People’s relationships are the relationships of the bodies. A group in a hole has raised hands for objections mutely. Another group, on a carpet which is not a magic carpet, is holding a marriage ceremony. Women’s group is mourning lonely and quietly. A youth group is lying anxiously on a mattress waiting for an incident. Other young people seem to be trapped on the slide. Also maybe a few teenagers in a bathtub longing to be bathed by the sun. Another group being prepared yet not anticipated set off for a journey. Finally, the young soldiers have launched a war game in the no borderline border. The photographer has set pieces of this land on this desert. The horizon of this vast desert slowly moves up and bends down and let the people breathe.

Dashti has reshot this situation in the midst of the open desert and has stuck a piece of her imagination on this unyielding land. The pieces of her imagination sound as the chunks of her homeland reality. These chunks are dismissed rather cramped in this extensive land, not telling a story but a glimpse. The reality is settled out of this compactness and that extensiveness. We do not see the event; we are thrown into this suspension to constitute the story ourselves. It is wondering whether Dashti’s pictures are a clue for a constitution or do they make us bewildered.

Dashti’s “desert” is not a barren desert and neither is our homeland.  

Mehran Mohajer ( Photographer )