The Foreigner (San Diego/Tehran)
San Diego Museum of Art, 2013
Two local San Diego actors served as human avatars for Sohrab Kashani, a 24-year-old Iranian curator living in Tehran, Iran. The public was directed to find the avatars in the Persian gallery of the museum. Through mobile technology each avatar was connected live to Sohrab who was sitting in a contemporary art space in Tehran. Sohrab spoke only to the avatar (through an ear piece) and directed them in who to approach and exactly what to say. The public was given a lapel mic so Sohrab could hear them directly.
The Foreigner presents an uncanny circumstance where the separation between self and other, local and foreign, is collapsed and confused, and the geopolitical distance between the United States and Iran is made personal and local.
Collaboration with Felipe Castlblanco and Sohrab Kashani.
Casting for the San Diego iteration of The Foreigner was provided by New Village Arts.
The Foreigner (Pittsburgh/East Jerusalem-Palestine)
Conflict Kitchen, Pittsburgh, 2013-Ongoing
(From Conflict Kitchen website) Through simple mobile technology Pittsburgh citizen Tracy Turner is be a human avatar for Mohammad Barakat, a 61-year-old man who is currently living in Palestinian East Jerusalem. You can have lunch and speak to Mohammad through the body of Tracy at the Conflict Kitchen this Saturday, April 18th from noon-2pm. In this way citizens of Pittsburgh will be introduced to someone who is currently living in an entirely different cultural circumstance through the body of a local citizen right in front of them.
The Foreigner presents an uncanny circumstance where the separation between self and other, local and foreign, is collapsed and confused, and the geopolitical distance the United States and Palestine is made personal and local.
Mohammad Barakat is an Arab Palestinian born in the old city of Jerusalem to refugee parents who fled from their village in 1948 due to the war. He was member of the executive committee of the Palestinian trade union in Jerusalem and currently works as a guide for educational and alternative tours throughout Palestine and Israel. He is married with 5 children and 10 grandchildren.
- Actor: Tracey D. Turner
- Actor: Rebecca Jacobson
- Conflict Kitchen Education and Outreach Director Blaine Siegel
The Foreigner (Cleveland/Tehran)
Cleveland Public Library and Tower City Center / Commissioned by Spaces Gallery, Cleveland, 2013
Collaboration with Felipe Castlblanco.
For over three months, everyday Clevelanders functioned as real-time local avatars for Iranians overseas. Through simple, mobile technology each Cleveland avatar was connected live to an Iranian citizen. The Iranian spoke only to the avatar (through an ear piece) and directed them in who to approach and what to say, as they walked through various public spaces. In this way citizens of Cleveland were introduced to someone who is currently living in an entirely different cultural circumstance through the body of a local citizen right in front of them.
The Iranian citizens and Cleveland avatars have been selected from all walks of life, from children to seniors. Therefore it will be possible for a local teenage girl to be the avatar for a 53-year-old Iranian woman or a 9-year-old Iranian girl can speak through a 60-year-old Cleveland man.