Video: Terrorientalist Landscapes | Artist Talk by Gelare Khoshgozaran

On November 5, 2020 at 7 pm CT Plug In ICA presented Terrorientalist Landscapes, an artist talk by Gelare Khoshgozaran, as part of her solo exhibition of سندباد and sandbox which was on view until December 20, 2020 at Plug In ICA. Khoshgozaran contextualized the exhibition within her larger practice and preoccupations with simulation, landscape, and surrogacy in the construction of different sites of violence. The online talk was followed by a conversation between Khoshgozaran and Plug In ICA’s curator, Nasrin Himada.

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 RailParkettX-TRALA Review of BooksArt PracticalAjam Media Collective and MARCH, amongst others.

of سندباد and sandbox was 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 brought 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 examined 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 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.

Associated Programming:

Solo Exhibition | Gelare Khoshgozaran | of سندباد and sandbox | September 26 – December 20, 2020