USA / Duration 9m 38s loop / 1998
In Turbulent, Neshat’s 1998 two-screen video installation, two singers (Shoja Azari playing the role of the male and Iranian vocalist and composer Sussan Deyhim as the female) create a powerful musical metaphor for the complexity of gender roles and cultural power within the framework of ancient Persian music and poetry.
Shirin Neshat is an Iranian visual artist who lives in New York City. She is known primarily for her work in film, video and photography. Her work refers to the social, cultural and religious codes of Muslim societies and the complexity of certain oppositions, such as man and woman. Neshat often emphasizes this theme showing two or more coordinated films concurrently, creating stark visual contrasts through motifs such as light and dark, black and white, male and female. Neshat has also made more traditional narrative short films, such as her recent work, Zarin.
The work of Neshat addresses the social, political and psychological dimensions of women’s experience in contemporary Islamic societies. Although Neshat actively resists stereotypical representations of Islam, her artistic objectives are not explicitly polemical. Rather, her work recognizes the complex intellectual and religious forces shaping the identity of Muslim women throughout the world. Using Persian poetry and calligraphy she examined concepts such as martyrdom, the space of exile, the issues of identity and femininity.
Translation of the song from Shirin Neshat’s ‘Turbulent’. The words are from one of Rumi’s ‘Poems of passion’ and it should be explained that it’s not possible to do an exact translation as the lines are from an ancient language and lyrics.
Shirin Neshat is represented by Gladstone Gallery.