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Bridge Obscura: Connecting Cultures through Sculpture Installation

Amin, Shahrzad (2020) Bridge Obscura: Connecting Cultures through Sculpture Installation. Masters thesis, OCAD University.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Amin, Shahrzad

21st century Iran is often said to be a country in the grips of isolationism: imposed by both internal and external factors. On one hand, the sanctions applied by the US government isolate the country and restrict the living conditions and mobility of Iranian people, merchants, artists, and designers. On the other, international sanctions lead to political and cultural isolationism at the national level, making the country turn inward as a reactionary response and reinforcing the alienating cycle. Through the lenses of art practice, sensory ethnographic filmmaking, and architectural design, this paper examines the power and effectiveness of an art exhibition that features interdisciplinary sculpture installation, to express ideas about connectivity in such a climate of isolationism. The sculpture installation works in the exhibition highlight a social openness and necessity for global international connectivity, by applying the figure of the arch bridge (symbolic for Iran’s once important status as a connector between civilizations along the path of trade routes) as a metaphor for overcoming cultural distances. In the influential collected volume, The Social Life of Things, cultural anthropologists Arjun Appadurai and Igor Kopytoff argue that objects (including architectural ones) in a given culture can reveal biographical information about the society at large, when one focuses on how they have been put to use and culturally redefined over time. The cultural responses to the biographical details of objects cast light on the aesthetic, historical, and political judgments and values that shape our attitudes. My thesis and exhibition take the arch bridge as an architectural object and formal representation of cultural referents along these lines, approaching the figure of the arch bridge biographically in order to generate an alternative space that connects contemporary Iranian culture to the rest of the world despite/against boundaries.

Date: 2020
Uncontrolled Keywords: sculpture installation, bridge, sensory ethnography, architectural design, connectivity, cultural biography
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design
Date Deposited: 12 May 2020 07:44
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 21:30
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/2995

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