Ni måste Namasté
Video, paintings, plastic chairs
Video, 14 min 30 sec
Ni måste Namasté presents a fictional neighbourhood in the process of noisy and disruptive construction.
Influenced by noir aesthetics, the film follows a few characters living through this capitalist urban development project. Such ventures can be seen today, with their desirable designs in the pages of many magazines, as cities pride themselves in growing and adding the latest in sustainable architecture. The word sustainable is a cover for gentrification and the building of borders. It is an aspirational cliché that could be dubbed as the “Swedish dream” – a fit, healthy body in a newly constructed, sleek, clean, and “safe” neighbourhood, all mechanisms of class differentiation. Alikhani uses an anti-morose approach in his work and believes in the power of humour to engage the audience on multiple complex layers.
“Along with a yoga class, we follow several characters struggling to reach serenity in the midst of the thundering construction of some future vision. Sudden Hills is the stage on which fantasies of luxury and wellness are re-enacted in an omnipresent advertisement drawing from multiple city development projects in Sweden, and specifically Gothenburg.”
(Kasra Seyed Alikhani)
Kasra Seyed Alikhani is an artist and filmmaker who experiments with an expanded idea of set design and amateur filmmaking in the spirit of Maya Deren. Alikhani stages fictional worlds through painting, film, music, and installation in which sources ranging from personal experience, theory, and mass-culture merge and form the narrative. These become stages on which to re-perform the dissimulation of reality, and how ideas of sameness and Swedishness can haunt the everyday. Most recently he has explored how these ideas can relate to fantasies of illness and wellness.
Structured around the theme of the city as a machinery of the present time, Comforting the machine synthesised and gave its audience a tight and poignant grasp of truths in the raw. In preparation for the exhibition, the ten artists were also invited to submit something the curators called “Provocations”. The provocation to each artist was a task to expand themselves beyond the walls of the gallery by mapping traces of their work in the region, in history and the future, and to collate them as a string of continuations.
Raumdeuter Radio invited me to make a sound-work based on tram line number 9 which was launched as part of GIBCA Extended. Tram line number 9 (among other routes) often becomes a symbol of a journey of class as its two end-stations illustrate the city’s large geographical gap between populations of different socio-economic statuses. But how desirable are the lifestyles on the homogenous and materially wealthy end of the route? What is expected to sacrifice/suppress, in order to climb the socio-economic ladder? What identities and aspirations are available in the collective imagination? Can these be re-imagined?
“Equal temperament” is my musical project that asks these questions through conjuring the imagination of a fictional person/entity with multiple voices at a perpetual in-between-state, indefinitely stuck on the tram, unwilling to get off at any one station. I imagine an entity that samples voices and sounds from the city to express its melancholy and desire. The project has also become a chance of blurring the lines between my musical and artistic practice. It’s a musical collage of impressions from the route and the locations it passes which explore “Swedishness” through the thematic lens of journey vs. limbo. The linear movement implied by a journey is replaced by the more circular, back and forth movement (or lack thereof) of limbo. For the melodies that accompany this musical, I’m using musical software developed by musician and researcher Khyam Allami that challenges the Western bias in musical software which are dominated by the standard Western tuning system called Equal temperament. The project is entirely based on sound but as it has grown in scope I’ve considered ways of expanding it, I’ll keep you updated.