IMAG-E-NATION the political & philosophical arts initiative blog

(re)imagining the political and philosophical in the 21st century

The Political & Philosophical Arts Initiative is interested in the ways in which people interact with and compose political and philosophical ideas and actions through the various, diverse media of technology and the arts. Participants in PAI seek to explore the ways in which poetry, literature, music, photography, performance and other creative arts interleave with the political and philosophical life, either as vehicles for criticism, elaboration, theorization, intervention or activism.
The Imag-e-nation blog is a forum for interested parties to share stories, images or other contributions. Contributors range from students and faculty to artists and musicians to professional and casual commentators. Pieces can be short opinions, re-postings of appropriate materials, or original compositions. In addition, the PAI at LUC will make a selection of relevant or provocative news items each week for (re)publication here.


Drawing home: (be)longing and (dis)place(ment)

In anticipation of's one-day manga exhibition on 6 December 2014 (the proofs of the Virtual Ninja Manifesto, in the form of a graphic poem, look spectacular--grab your complimentary copy at the event!), here are some pictorially compelling moments from the not too distant past which invoke senses of home, as a physical and geographical location, a spatial and emotional concept, and a socio-politico-cultural need.

Exhibition poster by Reza Abedini

Locus: Upcoming Iranian Artists Abroad, a multi-faceted exhibition at GEMAK in The Hague, closed this past weekend but continues to resonate in the international city of peace and justice, especially given the transient population in this cosmopolis.  In the words of visual artist and curator Pendar Nabipour:

For socio-political transitions to happen process is required, and this continuing process creates the space to acquire collective experiences for people who are dealing with this process of transition.  The Iranian younger generations forming 2/3rd of the whole Iranian 75 million population have experienced a post-revolutionary period, war, and many other uncomfortable, uneasy changes during their lifetime.  This package of collectively and commonly shared experiences also creates unique opportunities for Iranian young artists to narrate stories and suggest ideas that explain a number of reasons for an ongoing transition which is not only local, but also global in many ways. 
[Left] Stages to the Constant Longing by Pendar Nabipour
[Upper right] Omnigaze by Joubin Zargarbashi
[Lower right] Obsession by Mehregan Kazemi

Various constructive tensions are brought home beautifully in this exhibition, such as in Arefeh Riahi's video of the deliberate labour of writing English and Persian in simultaneous but contrary motion and Mehregan Kazemi's wall of photographs, juxtaposed with textual translations of the visual odyssey in English, French, and Persian to mark a young woman's psycho-physical-linguistic quest for belonging.  Particularly striking is the graphic design of Farhad Fozouni, manifested in two large-scale images from his Tehran 000 series, both feats of visual poetry auguring a new narratology.

Map of Iran by Farhad Fozouni [video]

Right-to-Left by Farhad Fozouni

Meanwhile, in London's South Acton, once homeless street artist Stik has been busy painting his latest commentary on the paucity of affordable housing on a council-owned tower block.  

Big Mother, with its clean aesthetics and simple graphics, speaks loudly and clearly for our common human need for shelter and protection, as well as our longing for warmth and hospitality.  See further coverage and more photographs of this project here.


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