A VIDEO ART PIECE
BY ALI ETTEHAD
“Degeneration” is a video-art that is visually based on paintings from the Herat school, Tabriz school and paintings by Mohammad Siah Qalam. The idea of the work is based on the second song of the Gathas (the oldest Iranian translated sacred text).
The second song of the Gatha:
The cow’s soul lamented to you, [the gods]: “For whom did you create me?
Who fashioned me?
Cruelty, oppression, bloodlust, rage, and violence have fettered me,
[And] there is no herdsman for me other than you.
Therefore, you must all show me [the way to] good pastures.”
Then the cow’s Fashioner asked Truth: “What [was] your allotment for the cow
when, ruling [the earth], you all gave her cow-tending nourishment together with pasturage?
Whom do all of you desire as the Lord who would destroy the cruelty [wielded] by the Possessor of the Lie?”
[The one who is] not a slayer of the alliance with Truth
[and is] free from hatred for the cow would reply to him:
“[One] is not to know of those [things] by which He drives the lowly to lofty [heights].
[But] he to whom I shall go, on account of [his] having sent out requests [for aid?],
[will be] the strongest of beings.
In Persian medieval paintings, rivers were decorated with silver leaves. Over the centuries, the silver has oxidized and the shining rivers of Persian miniatures have all turned black. This is how time and the lack of water are connected in an iconic way.
Iran is a dry land, and century after century this dryness covers more and more of this land.
In the Middle Persian scripts, when the writer came to the word Ahriman (the abstract form of ignorance that turn into the Devil, they wrote it upside down and flipped. Even though Iranians today do not know this rule of the dead Middle Persian language, when they want to write something against the dictator, they write his name upside down and flipped. It is as if cultural patterns keep themselves alive without anyone making an effort.
In this video, before the demons are found, the music and the sacred song are heard correctly, and right after the first demon enters the picture, the sounds are reversed.