Friday, 8 December 2023, 24:00 | midnight

#136: Azin Feizabadi

Driven by the urgency to challenge time as a linear concept, reveal the dynamic relationship between ‘the projection’ and ‘the spectator’ and question authorship, filmmaker and visual artist Azin Feizabadi often uses modes, tools and sites of production and presentation of films, such as the cinema space, as a point of departure in his lecture-performances, installations, videos/films and curatorial practice. In his narrative moving image works Feizabadi adapts and translates ancient mythologies, tales and stories from the past and weaves them together with an immediate but fictitious present. Fiction takes on numerous guises here – it is a means to approach “reality” as an ongoing, fluid, layered narrative, one that mixes memories with fantasies, transforming people, places, things, and events into characters, scenes, figures, and scripts. Through humor and performativity, (dis)appearance and playful associative tactics, Feizabadi challenges institutional, ideological, representational and empirical approaches of historiography, identity and migration.

Azin Feizabadi will show works from 2004 to 2023, including the Berlin premiere of
the short film IN TRANSIT (24min, 2023).

GOL, 2004, 11:10 min
A reenactment of an aesthetic seemingly “Beautiful”, derived from the visual representation of the Orient in contemporary western kitsch-pop-culture, as well as from middle eastern visual cultures, such as Persian miniature paintings. The same aesthetic that is also used within political and/or religious propaganda in Iran, such as for public celebration of martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war (1980–1988) visible on wall paintings in the streets or in video clips on Iranian State Television.

NYAYESH, 2008, 5:13 min
The initial starting point of this conversation was a photograph which was taken around 1930. Ebrahim Shahroudi (my grandfather) is visible in this photo as a twelve-year old boy with his fellow classmates and teachers.

THE NEGOTIATION, 2010, 12:27 min (in collaboration with Kaya Behkalam)
A diverse group of actors come together on a film set analogous to the architecture of the UN Security Council – a roundtable. The script: an unnamed visual/textual three-act drama about an undefined revolutionary situation. Throughout the rehearsal, staging and the filming process the actors interpret their scripted as well as their own characters. The borders between fictional and factual histories, individual and collective desires, projections and biographies become increasingly blurry. Commented from afar by an authoritarian narrator, the actors discuss, improvise and negotiate between language and the need for action.

CASTING, 2016, 2:58 min
Over the course of more than a year prior to the shooting of the feature film UCHRONIA (93, 2019) I spent a lot of time with the actors on multiple occasions and in diverse situations, preparing them and myself for the collaboration on the set. These encounters –acting workshops or casting sessions– were recorded and used as material for the script writing process. This video contains footages from a workshop with Bashir Abou Ezzah –one of the main protagonists in the film. It is a sketch, a moving-image mood-board to establish the style of some of the scenes for the final film.

UCHRONIA (Extended Teaser), 2019, 7:37 min
An adaption of the Middle Eastern legend, Layla & Majnun, UCHRONIA depicts two disembodied Dark Matter aliens traveling from the furthest parts of the universe to planet 52°N,13°E: Berlin, Germany. Seeking their amorous union, an aim that would cause a cosmic catastrophe on their home planet, Earth enables the strangers to incarnate into human bodies and become matter, offering the promise of finally realizing their love. Divided into three chapters, each chapter re-tells the story through three different narrative styles and sets of protagonists.

IN TRANSIT, 2023, 24:30 min
A hybrid fiction-documentary film about a traveller whose shadow wants to make itself independent upon arrival in Germany. Facing it and gazing at the shadow with the help of his video camera, memories and flashbacks cut rhythmically into the travellers records of the present untill a remix of his past and future occurs. All this in an in-between space, in a non-place, ‘In Transit’.
Made on the occasion of the documentary series A SENSE OF PLACE, initiated by Afsun Moshiry and Wim Wenders Foundation. Produced by Road River Films, Pejman Foundation and Iconoclast.

WE WILL BE CONTINUES, 2023, Loop (here 3min)
Shot on iPhone at and for MAX of Podere Trafonti in Tuscany at the time of sunset sometime in August 2023. The video shows a moment of peace and quietness, tenderly interrupted by two suns appearing behind the hills at the same time and ray their light into the house. The camera tries to capture them both, pans from right-to-left and back, but once looking at left, a male voice calls in Farsi “Ma Edame Darim” (We Will be Continues) from the right – and vice versa. The loop intervenes in the cycle and makes the sun never set. Kairos contradicts Chronos, linear time stops, while uchronia continues.

Azin Feizabadi, born in Tehran (Iran), is a Berlin based filmmaker and visual artist. He studied fine arts at the Berlin University of the Arts, film and visual arts at the New School in New York. Since 2018 he has been on the short film review team at the Kassel Dokfest, since 2020 on the selection committee of Berlinale Shorts. He conducts seminars and workshops on film, video art and artistic research at universities. His first feature film UCHRONIA was released in 2019, as was the book After Cinema for the tenth anniversary of his project A Collective Memory.