September 18, 2013 ABC 2013
19th — 22nd of September 2013
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”
— Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities”
The installation “A Tale of Tehrangeles” is taking the beginning of Charles Dickens novel “A Tale of Two Cities” as a basis for a visual collage of the cities Tehran and Los Angeles.
“Tehrangeles” is a portmanteau word that is informally used when referring to the large number of Iranian immigrants and their descendants residing in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. With an estimated 700,000 to 800,000 people, it is the largest such population outside of Iran. The project “A Tale of Tehrangeles” is relating to that denominated connection with a performative comparison.
Working with a three-screen setup, it is combining a two-screen city collage with a single screen accompanying “commentary” monitor. The city images are composed of video footage from two different shooting locations: Tehran and Los Angeles.
The commentary is setup in a green-screen studio, referencing a newsroom, in which the artist as an “anchorman” is reading out the beginning of Charles Dickens novel. The sentences are randomly repeated and mixed. In combination with the shown images of “Tehrangeles”, spatial connections/disconnections/negations derive, pretending the existence of an actual intermediate space/city.
In addition to the video installation, a book object is shown, collecting newspaper headlines that originally carried the words “Tehran” or “Los Angeles” within their headline. By replacing the two city names with the word “Tehrangeles”, the book is furthermore telling territorially and historically blurry “Tales of the City/two Cities”.