When The Kid Was A Kid - Wild Gender
Gelare Khoshgozaran interviews Anahita Ghazvinizadeh about her film “When The Kid Was A Kid.”
Gelare Khoshgozaran: Where did the idea for the film come from?
Anahita Ghazvinizadeh: Let me first tell you briefly how I became a filmmaker and I got to the point that I made this film. I went to school at the University of Arts in Tehran. In school it was not mandatory or part of the curriculum to make films especially as a screenwriting major. I met my colleague, Morteza Farshbaf, in school. Later we both got into Kiarostami’s workshop and there I started making films. We made two short films together and co-wrote a feature. Later I signed up for some creative writing classes with Shadmehr Rastin[i]. When the Kid Was A Kid was the very first story that I wrote as class assignment. I don’t know if it was unconscious or it just came from intuition but it definitely didn’t come from any theory or theoretical thinking. Later I really got interested in studying children, children psychoanalysis and gender studies, but at that point that was not at all what I was reading. Sometimes I think, like any other work, it’s partly autobiographical. We sort of had this game of gender role-playing in my family because everyone was always questioning their gender roles and making fun of “womanhood” or “fatherhood”. As a kid I wasn’t really allowed to wear girly clothes and put make up on. I remember going to our friends’ houses and getting to their parents’ closet, wearing women’s clothes and feeling like I was in drag. We also used to play the games of playing our parents’ roles in the basement of my friend’s house so the story comes from those memories too. After getting feedback from my friends I just added more details to the story, then I started rehearsing with the actors. We were playing games for a couple of months. And the kids contributed a lot to the story from their real lives. [continue reading on Wild Gender.]
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I’d like to move thematically through the exhibition beginning with some questions concerned with identity and subjectivity. Khoshgozaran’s “Speech” is a useful point of entry into this discussion. The subject’s face in this one channel video is visually split at the center such that the artist’s eyes and an anonymous white female’s mouth are conjoined. Khoshgozaran reads from Lacan’s well-regarded “The Signification of the Phallus,” where he distinguishes between need and desire, while the mouth interrupts to correct the author’s enunciation. If my interpretation is correct the piece is replicating in both form and content the way an impossible desire for fulfillment becomes entangled with an impossible desire to be like the ‘they.’ For Khoshgozaran, race and gender are visible and indelible identities that can be interrupted but not effaced in the register of language. [continue reading on Ajam Media Collective.]
Gelare Khoshgozaran’s split screen video constructs a visually disturbing talking head by vertically combining two different faces that otherwise seem to be in a face-to-face dialogue. The top portion of the screen shows the upper part of Khosgozaran’s features while she reads passages from Lacan’s “The Signification of the Phallus.” The bottom half of the screen shows the lower part of a female white face while she listens to Khoshgozaran’s speech and interrupts its flow with her own “proper” enunciation of the words she deems to have been pronounced incorrectly; she insists on hearing their proper articulation before letting Khoshgozaran continue with her reading.
Featured in the launch issue of The Enemy: Under Contemporary Art's Vitrine
About The Enemy
The Enemy is a triannual online journal that invites writers, artists, thinkers, and activists to present essays and projects outside the mainstreams of their own practices and disciplines. More of an exquisite corpse than an issue-based publication, The Enemy hopes to juxtapose established scholars with new voices, and to include known figures alongside students, intellectuals, and polemicists of all stripes. The goal is for our readers to encounter positions that run countercurrent to popular discourse, and for each contributor to operate outside of her or his expected modes of expression. The project is an experiment in framing thought beyond familiar journalistic, artistic, and academic marketplaces—and although this may not be possible, The Enemy is, and will seek to remain, free and untethered by commercial support or institutional expectations.
Under Contemporary Art’s Vitrine
Last September, a curator from Tel Aviv contacted me about including my work in an exhibition opening in Tel Aviv, and possibly Berlin and Los Angeles “about contemporary art from Iran and Syria”. “There is such a gap between our cultures, even when we are so close and related in many ways,” he wrote in his email. We met in person after exchanging a few more emails, where I expressed my skepticism about my participation in this exhibition. My reluctance was in part because it sounded to me like yet another attempted curation that pigeonholed identity in the name of exhibiting something “provocative.” I also felt that my commitment to the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel1could present a problem. In our short meeting he mentioned the names of a few potential participants in the show, a predictable list of self-exotifying, self-orientalizing auction stars, most of them women with photographic practices that I had criticized previously in my writings.2 [Continue reading on The Enemy]
The Flirtatious Pirouette of the Artist Around His Subject [sic]
Neely Macomber Travel Award 2012
Roski Gallery at USC, Los Angeles, CA