Legs of person in army uniform standing in desert with hills behind. Image is tinted orange.
Gelare Khoshgozaran, "Medina Wasl: Connecting Town," still, 16mm film and digital video, 2018, colour, sound, 31 min. Courtesy of the artist.

Solo Exhibition | of سندباد and sandbox by Gelare Khoshgozaran

September 26 – December 20, 2020

*Reduced hours / by appointment

Terrorientalist Landscapes | Artist Talk by Gelare Khoshgozaran | Thursday, November 5, 2020 | 7 PM CT

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art | 1, 460 Portage Ave | Winnipeg MB | Canada

Plug In ICA is very excited to present of سندباد and sandbox, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles based artist Gelare Khoshgozaran. This is Khoshgozaran’s first solo exhibition in Canada.

of سندباد and sandbox is composed of two works: Medina Wasl: Connecting Town, a thirty-minute film shot in 16 mm transferred onto video; and “U.S. Customs Demands to Know” consisting of twenty LED-lit packages in various sizes. The exhibition brings into view the complex and layered narratives that emerge when an embodied sense of knowing is prioritised. Khoshgozaran is committed to deep research, foregrounding her desire for inquiry and the interconnected ways in which landscapes, memories and dreams manifest into the language of moving-images. In Medina Wasl: Connecting Town, Khoshgozaran examines the history of the landscape of the California desert, how it is mired in appropriations of Middle Eastern tropes that began in the early 1900s, and since then has become the site for military training camps. An archipelago of simulated Middle Eastern villages have popped up all over the US since 9/11, simulating the experience of war taking place in Afghanistan and Iraq. The film draws relationships between distant landscapes and presents a perspective on American consumption that is not free of its racialized violence. The title “U.S. Customs Demands to Know” is a direct quote from a policy legislated after 9/11 that allowed US authorities to search any package without consent. The boxes once contained archival and research material that were sent from Iran to Los Angeles. Laid out across the gallery floor, they condition a sense of dream-like movement toward an otherworldly place. There is something tangible in both pieces that not only acknowledges the violence ingrained in these national security structures, but that moves beyond their world view and opens the possibility for us to also witness another story being told.

Khoshgozaran’s practice is rooted in rigorous historical research, time spent in creating a space for archival manifestation that stems from the perspective of a witness. By building relationships with intertextual material, she makes time in the studio to read, make, listen, write. Her specific modes of engagement take time. She constructs methodologies out of the process that is unfolding, and challenges conventional modes of production. Her process is rigorous and conceptual; but most significantly it is embodied, and constructs a space for entangled dreams and memories to live in images that condition the formation of another world.

Gelare Khoshgozaran is an undisciplinary artist and writer who, in 2009 was transplanted from street protests in a city of four seasons to the windowless rooms of the University of Southern California where aesthetics and politics were discussed in endless summers. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at the New Museum, Queens Museum, Hammer Museum, LAXART, Human Resources, Visitor Welcome Center, Articule (Montreal), Beursschouwburg (Brussels), Pori Art Museum (Finland) and Yarat Contemporary Art Space (Baku, Azerbaijan). She was the recipient of a Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant (2015), an Art Matters Award (2017), the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2019) and a Graham Foundation Award (2020). Her words have appeared in contemptorary (co-founding editor), The Brooklyn Rail, Parkett, X-TRA, LA Review of Books, Art Practical, Ajam Media Collective and MARCH, amongst others.

Associated Programming

Online Artist Talk by Gelare Khoshgozaran | Thursday, November 5, 2020 | 7PM CT

All public programming is free.


We are on Treaty 1 Territory. Plug In ICA is located on the territories of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.

Plug In ICA extends our heartfelt gratitude to our generous donors, valued members, and dedicated volunteers. We acknowledge the sustaining support of our Director’s Circle. You all make a difference.

This exhibition was curated by Nasrin Himada.

Our sincere thanks go out to Collective Broadcast Co. for coordinating all of our online events.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We could not operate without their continued financial investment and lobbying efforts.

Plug In ICA relies on community support to remain free and accessible to all, and enable us to continue to present excellent programs. Please consider becoming a member of Plug In ICA and a donor at or by contacting Erin Josephson-Laidlaw at

For more information on public programming and exhibitions contact Allison Yearwood at

For general information, please contact: or call 1.204.942.1043