Haji Firouz is the second issue of Visual Foreign Correspondents presenting Iran, in collaboration with The Globalised Crystal Ball. Visual Foreign Correspondents is an independent platform in which 11 distinguished artists from around the world are invited each month to give their personal visual commentary on events and situations from their locally situated perspective.Their works especially created for urban screens and online platforms. This project will give people in the streets of Amsterdam a brief window into other regions, peoples and other kinds of imagination.
In Iran Haji Firouz is a clownesque character in blackface, traditionally heralding the Persian New Year: Nowruz. With song and dance he spreads good cheer and inaugurates the festive season. Set within a busy shopping street in West-Berlin, Entekhabi enacts his own version of Haji Fairuz. However, his continuous efforts and increasingly exaggerated gestures to attract attention and become included within a commodified urban setting, are widely ignored by the busy Christmas shoppers.
Their own preoccupation with performing the festive season themselves, by means of consumption, disallows them to see, let alone consume, an element which seems out-of-place and disrupts the regular flow of goods and people. Entekhabi’s Haji Firouz challenges normative behavioural patterns by pushing social and racial boundaries; it becomes clear within these parameters, that participation in a particular system, is based on exclusivity and conformity.
Shahram Entekhabi was born in Boroujerd, Iran and studied graphic design at the University of Tehran and architecture and urbanism in Italy. He has exhibited internationally, and lives and works in-between London, Berlin and Tehran. His practice is framed within an urban setting and questions the idea that West-European urban space is primarily reserved for the white, middle class, heterosexual male. He explores these ideas via a variety of performative actions, using architecture, installation and digital media.
In his work he chooses to highlight individuals who are ordinarily perceived as marginalized, and hence rendered invisible or forced into a condition of self ghettoisation from within the urban domain, such as migrant communities (in particular from the Middle East). The question of visibility and invisibility, is a prominent theme Entekhabi keeps revisiting and exploring in his practice.
The work will be launched during the seminar event of the Globalised Crystal Ball in the conference space. An introduction to the work will be given, making a connection to the seminar and the ideas of the artist. Independent from the seminar the work will then feature on the urban screen outside the ‘Balie’ every night for a month, on the The Contemporary Art Screen, at the Zuidas and in 11-Restaurant Bar Club, part of Post-CS, museum of modern art, Amsterdam. These screens will be in relationship to a specially designed website and ‘Oog’. The VFC website will show the work and contextualize it with political, social and cultural background information. Furthermore it will give information about the project and a possibility for the audience to interact.
The work will also feature in ‘OOG’, a commentary and opinion platform that is part the online edition of De Volkskrant, a major Dutch daily national newspaper. Here the work will feature for a week as part of the continuing series of artist commentaries.
De Balie: Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, Amsterdam
CASZ: Zuidplein, Amsterdam
11/Restaurant bar club: Oosterdokskade 3-5, Amsterdam
Visual Foreign Correspondents
Artistic director: Nanette Hoogslag
Editors: David Garcia, Nat Muller, Petra Heck and Eric Kluitenberg