On Being Ill is a sound and movement installation piece, played in a theater. The subject of the installation is illness, and its starting point is the book from Virginia Woolf with the same title. It is an accompaniment into absence, with an eye on all the non-communicated content of illness.
The narrative is a journey along the spine, embodiment of several conditions of illness, and where the illness is never an end point, a result to evaluate, merely a starting point. The body and the mind too is always looking for new alignments instead of judging the current condition. Could society perhaps adapt to such an agility too, turning its back to the good old dualistic habit of judgement?
The project is a research of presence, and is directed to explore the possible mental and emotional states resulting of acute physical condition. On Being Ill is driving our attention to the content of certain conditions, releasing them from their dogmatic brackets of dictated value. Throughout the piece the event of a ritual naturally happens.
This is the first movement performance I have directed in an assignment-based collaboration in which content, editing and dramaturgy (light and staging) was my responsibility. This methodology encouraged me to envision and direct further movement performances using my visual arts educational background.
This installation was my endexam at Rietveld Academie in 2009, and a replica has been exhibited in The Curious Matter exhibition in 2010
It was originally installed in a 12m high staircase, stairs going around it. 3 horizontally placed half transparent glass plates with 3 meters distance from each other and the ground. The three glass plates hung from metal threads that were attached to the roof.
The plates filled the gap of the stairs almost fully.
On each plate there is a canon of 10 minutes video loop. It was picturing water falling through the screens.
This work was scaled, timed and directed in such a way, to give a strange bodily sensation to the spectator who is in the staircase, or under the installation, which wouldn’t resolve itself, until the viewer concluded: this is water falling up, or this is a representation of water.
This is an experiment made by modelling reality with 2 dimensional layers, and reflection on the philosophy of Henry Bergson on spinal and cortical reactions.
This is a two-screen projection loop of 4′ 07″.
These images show the two screens (left and right) as one image, in even distances from the viewer.
The two projections are timed together.
I was researching to find a way to compare two female bodies without sexual or rivalizing connotations.
Each screen pictures two female forms, one as a positive form and one as a negative.
I positioned my models in classic painterly poses of picturing nudity, and asked them to breathe calmly.
Finally I ended up in landscape.
(The models are not credited here due to their own wish)
If we say out an idea, we start to own it, defend it,
Use it as a tool of intellect,
And become it.
This is how symbols are created.
If we are empathic to a feeling
We are bound to it; we might be even wounded by it
We read ourselves into it.
And just now having written these words
I killed my idea.
I will grieve it.
Ornaments Distorted is a site-specific installation that has been exhibited in February 2009 in Amsterdam Oude Kerk.
Handcrafted mirror installation
9 pieces spread over 2㎥
What are we doing here?
Gathering and spreading lights, searching for truth or relevance, filtered by our distortion, depending on each other.
Previously exhibited in Chassekerk in 2008 and in Mezrab in 2010 in The Curious Matter exhibition.
As the proprietor of the cultural space in which the works were exhibited I spent days in close proximity to the pieces. The piece that I felt most drawn to was the installation of the nine mirrors. They were beautiful to watch, sometimes resembling raindrops, other times disembodied breasts of various sizes, floating in our space. It is only after a few days of walking near them and through them that I started seeing myself and my surrounding in the mirrors. Suddenly they were transformed from an aesthetically beautiful piece to watch to a conduit for watching myself and my own space, it was a eureka moment! I usually take the time to digest a piece of art. After some time I either “get” it or not. But to think to get a piece and to be so utterly surprised by it after many days was an inspiring moment, and a testament to the playful inspiration of the artist. Sahand Sahebdivani