March 6, 2023
This week we recognize Minoosh Zomorodinia Minoosh Zomorodinia, and her almost twenty-year practice as a photographer and interdisciplinary artist.
"Informed by my cultural background, religion, and politics, my work investigates the concept of “Self,” specifically how it relates to the environment. Inspired by nature, I borrow from rituals including walking, sometimes infusing humor. I integrate contradictory concepts into pieces that visualize struggles of the “self” by inserting my body into these moments of time and space. Recently I employed walking as a catalyst for my sculptures, which reference nomadic lifestyles, as well as colonialism. By tracking my paths using technology, I claim the ownership of the land, while representing a changed perception in the digital age and addressing transformation of memories into actual physical space absurdly."
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"Over several years I have referenced the natural elements in my work. The three channel video titled Resist: Air, Water, Earth, 2014 (above) is an ongoing project sometimes displayed as a photograph and sometimes as a video. I have been using water, air and earth as a metaphor of resistance, to demonstrate the challenges of daily life and global cultural conflicts. In the two side videos, I documented an ice cylinder using water from the San Francisco Bay, melting in different locations. In the middle screen, I use my body wearing a Chador (a traditional garment that devout Muslim women wear to cover the head and body). I hold it tightly so the wind or water don’t remove it while I'm walking backwards, entering the ocean. The video demands the viewer to watch the struggle, navigating my body with the camera, also while not paying attention to me." (19:07 mins)
"Feelings produce different psychological states within the human being. Sensation (above) is the result from the air stimulation at different sites. I search for the self in nature while letting the wind touch the mylar to curve the shape of my body. I’m interested in the connection between my body and the landscape to express my feelings. My body merges with the landscape and the emergency blanket to integrate within the sky. Although the sense of touch is experienced through the lens it identifies resistance. The natural environment is a source of inspiration for me. Over the years, in search of the self in nature, I have attempted to create work using natural elements as material to explore connections between my body and landscape. In Sensation, for the first time the wind became an intuitive collaborator during a walk at the Djerassi Resident Artists site. I let the wind’s force define the shape of my body through an emergency blanket, a material that represents heat and protection for refugees in times of crisis. The video camera, the only witness to my actions, documents my struggles with the air that covers my entire body, making its force visible, caressing my form, emphasizing every movement and act of resistance. In attempts to merge my body with the landscape that surrounds me, the force of the wind is sometimes the winner. Sensation has been performed and documented at different sites, including the Marin Headlands and Talaghan, located in the Northeast of my hometown, Tehran."
During the pandemic, Zomorodinia started to paint from the digital record of places that she physically experienced. In this series, Map of Walking, 2020 (above) she references archiving memory in space and time based on data saved through satellite maps. The gold leaf covers her physical movements in the place and addresses labor and the value of time and land. These paintings are from her residency at Recology AIR program, San Francisco, where she recorded her motions and time while scavenging trash from the dump to make art for her final exhibition. "I am interested in how technology forms memory through digital archiving, transforming invisible routes that exist as a memory into actual objects in abstract form. Is there any limitation?"
In her most recent series, Made Lands, 2021 (below) Zomorodinia re-forms and reshapes borders to reference historical monuments to labor and the memories of various localities, as well as representing topography in the digital age. The abstracted natural imagery is printed on leftover material with textures from the actual location. The printed images transform our perceptions of the natural environment in the new media age. She is interested in how technology forms memory through digital archiving, transforming invisible routes that exist as a memory into actual objects in abstract form. She asks, "How will the history of a place exist in the future?"
Minoosh Zomorodinia is an Iranian-born interdisciplinary artist who makes visible the emotional and psychological reflections of her mind's eye inspired by nature and her environment. She employs walking as a catalyst to reference the power of technology as a colonial structure while negotiating boundaries of land. Her strollings sometimes reimagine our relationships between nature, land, and technology, while addressing the transformation of memories into actual physical space absurdly. Zomorodinia has received several awards, residences, and grants including the Kala Media Fellowship Award, Headlands Center for the Arts, Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists' Residency, Djerassi Residency, Recology Artist Residency, the Alternative Exposure Award, and California Art Council Grants. She has exhibited locally and internationally at Asian Art Museum San Francisco, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission, Berkeley Art Center, Pori Art Museum, Nevada Museum of Art, ProARTS, Untitled Art Fair Miami and many more. Her work has been featured in the SF Chronicle, Hyperallergic, SFWeekly, KQED and many other media outlets. She earned her MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute, and holds a Masters degree in Graphic Design and BA in Photography from Azad University in Tehran. She currently lives and works in the Bay Area. rahelehzomorodinia.com
Featured Images (top to bottom): ©Minoosh Zomorodinia, Faces of God series 2008, images primarily shot in Iran; Resist: Air, Water, Earth, 2014; Sensation III, 2016-ongoing, silver metallic print, 8 x 11 inches;Map of Walking, 2020, made during the pandemic while at Recology AIR, San Francisco, California; Made Lands, 2021, print on shaped aluminum, various sizes, exhibited at Local Language, Oakland, California; Selfie portrait by the artist.