KEEP IN TOUCH WITH ME

© 2018 by ROYA EBTEHAJ

We live in a world full of tension. We deal with stress from work, money, family, and then turn to our newsfeeds to only absorb more discomfort from the brutality of war and politics. As a consequence, I have a form of fidgeting obsessive behavior in my daily lives to ease this stress. The habits may be relatively harmless, but also seem impossible to stop. On the surface, it may seem we become stronger people throughout time, but these obsessive habits continue to grow; and yet, in our very private moments, we admit we

are more fragile than yesterday. I am away from home and my family; facing certain travel bans. 2015 has been the most stressful stage of my immigration to the United States. Dealing with school, work and culture-shock on one hand, and the presidential debates and campaign promises for the protecting borders from terrorism on the other hand, dramatically increased my unhealthy habit of playing with my hair. Although the political conflicts are between governments, the true victims of these arguments are ordinary people like me. This exhibition, titledp5-1, is my personal reflection on this Persian proverb:

 

“The scissor blades meet and part without harming one another, yet they tear whatever stands in between”.

 

5 - 1 is a collection of multimedia artworks visualizing the traumatic influence of the extreme polarization between the East and West, in my personal life.

  • The video projection includes a single channel of 11 selected videos projected on magnifying sheets. In October 2015 over the course of one month, with my cell phone, I recorded videos of myself playing with my hair obsessively in different times and places.

  • The two sides of the interactive installation, representing the East and West, include two touch sensors triggered by stepping on them and it creates an active dialogue between Iranian and American governments. The threatening debates and hate speech leads to nothing but disrupting the people’s peace. The number of aluminium tiles facing east and west represent the 5-1 {5 (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, Germany) - 1 (United States)} countries involved in the Iranian nuclear deal.

  • The 5-1 sculpture on display is 3D printed clay. The scissors placed in conjunction with the path in between numbers 5 and 1 form the shape of a plus sign.

 

P5+1 is a group of six global powers (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States + Germany) which in 2006, joined together in diplomatic efforts with Iran regarding its nuclear program. The Iran nuclear deal framework was a preliminary agreement reached in July 2015 between the Islamic Republic of Iran and P5+1. On May 8, 2018, United States President Donald Trump announced the United States was withdrawing from the deal.