The Iranian Revolution in 1978/79 led to the toppling of the Shah regime. Shortly afterwards, the Islamic Republic of Iran was proclaimed. A broad base of leftists and workers, slum dwellers and peasants, members of the middle class—including feminists—and the clergy support the revolution, which was internationally also interpreted as anti-monarchic, anti-imperialist, nationalistic and/or religious.
In the two-channel-video installation on the set of 1978ff (2011) I address two questions: first, how did the 1978 revolution in Iran lead to the foundation of an Islamic Republic? And second, why did so many people with different political convictions and from different factions support it?
My work explores the Iranian Revolution not as a purely national event, but through the larger framework of its interconnections, perspectives and receptions in neighboring countries, the Middle East and the Global North. I reconstruct the Iranian Revolution through examples and fragments, including various urban phenomena and the representation of the Revolution in film, television and photography. From the perspective of media production and reception, I construct together with my interlocuters in the film a re-reading of the events of 1978. The film focuses on the processes of circulation of images and information and on the translation of events into different contexts.
The two-channel installation, on the set of 1978ff, integrates contributions from West German television, BBC Persian, Time Magazine, pictures by photographers Hengameh and Kaveh Golestan, excerpts from the documentary Schah Matt by Thomas Giefer and Ulrich Tilgner, as well as sequences on the intellectual Ali Shariati. I interweave the historical material with interview passages, excerpts from staged public debates and text commentaries. The debate with sociologist Asef Bayat was filmed for example 2010 at no.w.here.
Participants: Nasrin Bassiri, journalist, Berlin; Asef Bayat, sociologist, Illinois; Ayşe Çavdar, journalist, Istanbul; Akif Emre, journalist, Istanbul; Thomas Giefer, filmmaker, Berlin; Hengameh Golestan, photographer, London/Tehran; Lotfali Khonji, producer BBC Persian and translator, London; Ziba Mir-Hosseini, legal anthropologist, Cambridge; Marzieh Mortazi Langroudi, women’s activist, Tehran; Ulrich Tilgner, foreign correspondent, Tehran; Lokman Slim, director of the Arab-language publishing house Dar al-Jadeed, co-director of the UMAM research center, Beirut; Manfred Vosz, filmmaker, Düsseldorf
on the set of 1978ff, two-channel video installation plus 2 photographs, 58’, HD, stereo, 2011
The video installation is a production of mazefilm and was made for the exhibition the Urban Cultures of Global Prayers (www.globalprayers.info) in Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst in Berlin (2011), and for Camera Austria in Graz (2012). The installation was also co-produced for the exhibition Demonstrations. Making Normative Orders at Frankfurter Kunstverein.
The artist and author Sandra Schäfer lives and works in Berlin. In her artistic work, Sandra Schäfer deals with the representation of gender, with urbanism and (post-)colonialism. Since November 2002, she has regularly traveled to Kabul and Tehran. The focus of her artistic practice is on film and video installations integrating stills/photography. She has initiated various collective projects with filmmakers, artists and theorists. 2003 she curated together with Jochen Becker and Madeleine Bernstorff the film festival Kabul/Tehran 1979ff: Filmlandscapes, Cities under Stress and Migration. 2006 a book under the same title got published in the serial metrozones at the publishing house b_books in Berlin.