Shehr O Funn

Shirin Neshat

Turbulent, 1998
Two-channel video, 10 min. 35 sec.

Shirin Neshat (b. 1957, Qazvin, Iran) lives and works in New York City.
Neshat’s photographs and films offer a glimpse of the cultural, religious and political realities that shape the identities of Muslim women worldwide.
Turbulent marks a departure from still photography toward video installation, and was the artist’s first attempt at focusing on issues of gender in relation to the social structure of Islamic Iran. The main subject of the work is an inquiry into the absence of Iranian women from musical practice (women have often been banned from taking part in such activity, while men are free to enjoy public performances and recordings). Turbulent was designed as a two-channel projection for two facing screens. The viewer, standing in between the two screens, witnesses a musical duel between male and female singers. The man performs before an appreciative audience, a traditional and passionate love song while the woman performs a more unusual vocalization to an empty auditorium, building to an emotional intensity that then transfixes the male singer and his audience. Turbulent is conceived around the idea of opposites–black and white forms, male and female singers, empty and full theatres, stationary and rotating cameras, traditional and non-traditional music. Ultimately, the female singer subverts every rule of traditional music and pioneers a style of her own, while the male singer remains within the perimeter of convention.
Among the many awards Neshat has won are the First International Prize at the Venice Biennale (1999), the Grand Prix at the Gwangju Biennale (2000), the Visual Art Award from the Edinburgh International Film Festival (2000), the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography in New York (2002), the Zero One Award from the Universität der Künste Berlin (2003), the Hiroshima Freedom Prize from the Hiroshima City Museum of Art (2005), and the Lillian Gish Prize in New York (2006).

Lahore Biennale Foundation