Shirin Mozaffari: Someone Else’s Project

Someone Else’s Project
By Shirin Mozaffari

Editor’s note:

Through the simple construction of a single channel video with accompanying text (on screen and preamble), this piece challenges Western notions of authorship as well as the production and ownership of knowledge that are so often taken for granted within the academy. In this way, it gently probes the validation awarded to first-person experience as well as the sanctioned position of the author-as-discoverer, translator, or broadcaster of someone else’s experience. The many facets of mediation brought to the fore by this project reflect the purview of Sensate itself.

Introduction by Sandra Skurvida

Someone Else’s Project negotiates real and virtual space. Mozaffari’s intention for the project was to have a videographer shoot some footage of everyday life in her hometown, Tehran. Instead, her efforts turned into an obfuscated collaboration with a young woman in Tehran who chose to remain anonymous. In this exchange, Mozaffari extends her authorship to Anonymous, who assumes multiple roles as character, videographer, and, to a degree, a surrogate author. Working together, they highlight censorship that prohibits them access to, and ownership of, the public space of the city. Together, they overcome restrictions of access and establish a live link between “here” and “elsewhere,” “you” and “me,” “author” and “spectator.” Each collaborator is a spectator as much as author of another’s project. An extended relationship between author and spectator encompasses others, providing us with access to the site of practice. Both distancing and proximity are realized.

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