Same Old Story

Hamed Rashtian

Same Old Story, 2021, laser engraving on raw canvas, six-channel sound installation, 16x10x7.5 feet (installation size), 96×63 inches (canvas size) 

Photos: Michael Love

Same Old Story engages with a global perspective on the complex subject of colonialism by visualizing past and present anti-colonial narratives in different locations around the world. I aim to develop a global topology of anti-colonial movements in order to better understand the global histories of colonization. My interdisciplinary approach to this project is rooted in my primary goal of identifying points of connection among diverse narratives of colonialism to benefit from different knowledges and struggles in order to expand my understanding of decolonization. Starting from West Asia and North Africa I look into different instances of colonial interactions from around the world, searching across a wide range of collections and sources. I am curious about the similarities in the patterns of exerting power relations between the colonizer and the colonized.

  Currently, my focus is on the architecture of the sites of the events as well as the archival sounds related to them. I am curious about the conditions of buildings, specifically empty and banal spaces devoid of the people, that carry the weight of political events that perpetuated colonialism in one way or another. The narratives that I create consist of superimposed digital drawings that are laser engraved on raw canvas and are based on photos of the sites of the historical events as instances of colonization. I specifically include different superimposed drawings in one piece in order to emphasize the illegibility of history and to put these diverse events in conversation with each other. In the process of creating the six-channel sound installation, I have done research on the archival sound, related to historical events. I initially used sound in the installation to encourage an intimate connection between the audience and the piece. However, while creating the soundscape, I realized that the simultaneous presentation of sounds from different events created a fictional situation in which distant events converge.

  The events that are currently featured in my project are as follows: Patrice Lumumba’s anti-colonial speech during Congo’s independence day ceremonies; the secret negotiations between Israel and Palestinian Liberation Organization that resulted in the Oslo Accords; the battle of Algiers as part of the Algerian War of Independence that was fought between France and the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN); the history of the British colonial intervention in Iran including an oil concession between Iran and Britain; the destruction of the Old Summer Palace by Anglo-French forces during the Opium Wars in China; and the Construction of the Tiny Houses in the path of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline in northern BC as a form of resistance of Wet’swet’en people.

Supplementary Information

Hamed Rashtian

Hamed Rashtian is a Master of Fine Arts candidate at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Prior to moving to Canada, he received his Federal Diploma in Higher Education from F+F School of Art and Design in Zurich. Hamed has been active as an artist since 2006. He has held seven solo exhibitions in Iran, Switzerland, and United Arab Emirates and has participated in more than sixty group exhibitions in Iran, Switzerland, France, Germany, United States and the United Arab Emirates. His current research involves creating a topography of anti-colonial movements and forces with a focus on historical archives.
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