01 Dec 2017 - 02 Dec 2017
13:30  - 20:00

eikones Forum und neues kino Basel

Public event

Workshop: Where the Truth lies - Concepts of Reality in Iranian Cinema

eikones Forum (Rheinsprung 11, 4051 Basel)
neues kino Basel (Klybeckstrasse 247, 4057 Basel)

Conducted by:
Seminar for Media Studies of the University of Basel (Chair for Media Aesthetics, Prof. Dr. Ute Holl) in Cooperation with neues kino Basel and eikones. The workshop is part of the ongoing SNF research project “Afterimages of Revolution and War”.

Concept: Ute Holl, Matthias Wittmann, Hemen Heidari

Mazyar Eslami (Teheran), Christine Lang (Potsdam), Adineh Khojastehpour (Wuppertal), Seyedkeyvan Mirmohammadi (Köln), Bert Rebhandl (Berlin), Niklaus Reichle (St. Gallen), Golbarg Rekabtalaei (South Orange, NJ), Sahar Salahshoori (Paris), Farshad Zahedi (Madrid)


Although censorship seems to render realism in film completely impossible, the histor y of Iranian cinema can be regarded as a histor y of attempts to put into effect a specific kind of realism. The assumption of the workshop is, that Iranian cinema never strives to represent reality but to produce it in a strategic and tactical manner. Realism remains a question of form, politics and effect.

It is a leitmotif of Iranian Sufism that truth would be a per fectly polished mirror where the light is given shape (Corbin), but this mirror has been broken into pieces. Images of mirrors are a recurring motif in Iranian cinema. In many cases, they are shattered. The notion of the broken mirror opens up several possible perspectives on the relation between image and reality. Be it, that the way of searching the truth is more impor tant than finding it, be it, that the reality of the image is defined by a deficit, always referring to a multiplicity of other possible realities (= mirror fragments), be it, that the measurement of universal truth is lost and ar tists are committed to a par ticular shape of the mirror fragment.

A lot of Iranian films are compared to Italian neo-realism and symbolic or magic realism. The star ting point of the workshop will be the assumption that those links and parallels don’t do justice to the complexity of Iranian forms of realism. Therefore, we are interested in car ving out differentiations: What forms and concepts of realism can be found in the histor y of Iranian cinema? Is there any possibility to draw a line between fictional and documentar y impulses? What ontological and social status, what reality of relations do moving images have in Iran’s visual culture, also in relation to an economy of political power? What tactics have been developed in order to produce documentarising viewing modes (Odin) and ‚effets de réel‘ (Bar thes)? What layering of acting modes, what interleaving of pretending to pretend (to pretend) might lead to cer tain effects and dimensions of social reality? What can be said about the cooperation of image and sound-design regarding things that can’t be said or shown? How can the forms with which Iranian movies work on ‚our’ imagination of reality be brought into dialogue with specific philosophical traditions?

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