Ripples from the Unseen

SOFI BASSEGHI

Ripples from the Unseen is an immersive experimental video installation where women of Basseghi’s generation born post the 1979 Iranian Revolution and during the Iran/Iraq war (1980-1988) inhabit the chambers of The Substation. Created over a six-year period and depicted through a diasporic lens, this exhibition reveals fragments of an underground revolution through emotionally charged videos of women’s lived experiences. Her empowering work reveals how restrictions on women’s freedom have paradoxically been the driving force for them to exceed and excel on diverse platforms overcoming numerous obstacles. Basseghi has collaborated with numerous people to bring this project to life including sound artist Ai Yamamoto, installation designer and architect Ehsan Khoshnami and performers including actor Salme Geransar and the generous contribution of women in Iran.

The body of video work unveils stories of rebellion against cultural traditions, religious and superstitious ideologies and the patriarchal legal maze through which these women have learnt to navigate. Their financial and intellectual independence has resulted in acceptance of the reality that now in their mid-thirties a mostly solitary life awaits. Her videos unveil the multiplicity and rift in persona created living under the aforementioned societal pressures and upheavals of the past.

Basseghi’s work reveals an honest portrayal, which is both sad and uplifting of the interior/exterior and limbo-like existence of women through capturing vignettes of their lives. Influenced by Persian mythology and poetry Basseghi’s own dreams and experiences of migration, displacement and settlement in Melbourne (Narrm) as an Iranian born woman of mixed European and Persian heritage are morphed with the women’s stories. Symbolic Imagery of historical ruins and the natural landscape together with factual and imagined footage collected during journey’s to Iran are woven in and presented in a multichannel video installation. As such, these ripples of resistance have amplified the cost of this struggle for freedom of expression, equality and the dismantling of patriarchal domination on this path, where ‘freedom is not free’.

Special thanks to Dominic Redfern, Keely Macarow, community at RMIT University, Creative Victoria and Australia Council.

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