There is a strangeness seeing five monitors in a glass front gallery space with simultaneous sound emitting from each. The demand on the audience is for them to engage. The viewer must approach a screen to accurately identify a given sound’s source. The individual sound scores themselves are supportive of the visuals and create an intersecting, conflicting and resolving experience unto itself.
Walking into the glow of Kaz Rahman’s De_Constructiv Garden Tales gave an instantaneous diaristic and familial warmth. The show is located behind an architectural glass wall in the building, so it is first experienced in view, but out of reach, through the glass without the audio component. Upon passing this membrane the five 55” screens hum with a low, rich, and somehow sparsely dynamic decibel and tone – utterly welcoming and accommodating… an unlikely Zen.
In our world of dying ecosystems and filter-less information, Firoza’s production left me with a shot of optimism for humanity’s ability to heal. The dark stage was set with a young dervish resting in an illuminated circle on the ground plane. There was an identical projected circle off the back wall. The music, combined with the moving images of skies, trees and water on these circles soon made me forget about the physicality of the stage set.
A prolonged opening section with lovely warm sounds induces a meditative state, setting up an inner experience of the production that was profound and very real. The mirror visuals of street scenes during this opening seemed at times to create the illusion of water and reflections, images that are very much a part of Above-Below, Outer-Inner, Matter-Spirit references to an inner life and the world of Spirit, in which water is often a transition zone (cf. Escher, The BFG).
Islamic Art and Modernism are both terms which have been written about, discussed and mentioned as a period or style extensively- yet both terms remain fluid. Islamic Art stretches dynasties, periods and huge swaths of the globe. Key periods in art and architecture include Persian, Ottoman, Mughal and Deccani. Patterns and design in architecture create an aesthetic of non-representational abstraction where line, colour, space and light are used to signify the infinity of Allah’s universe.
The recent protests, increased racial tension and possible empowerment through Black Lives Matter that has played out on the streets of American cities as well as parts of Europe and the UK is subject matter for writers of fiction and the screen. There has already been an almost immediate shift in trying to 'erase' many problematic TV shows and Hollywood films from circulation and an obvious next step would be the quick production and promotion of films and/or narrative fiction that offers a different racial perspective and/or a less stereotyped approach to hierarchical relationships both within police forces, emigrant communities and rural areas of the American South.