Never Been To Tehran

Never Been To Tehran
October 19 – November 16, 2007
Venues: Parkingallery Projects , Tehran, Iran Caravansarai, Istanbul, Turkey; San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, USA; Media and Interdisciplinary Arts Center, Auckland, New Zealand; Koh-I-Noor, Copenhagen, Denmark; Mess Hall, Chicago, USA; Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (Downtown Electronic Jumbotron), Pittsburgh, USA; Embryosalon, Berlin, German

Project Website
(from press release)

Never Been to Tehran, organized by artist Jon Rubin and curator Andrea Grover, is a worldwide exhibition with 29 international participants who will be contributing photographs of what they imagine the city of Tehran to look like, to a universal photo-sharing website. The photographs will be streamed to each exhibition venue as a continuously evolving slideshow, with more photographs being uploaded daily throughout the exhibition. The participants will use a variety of research methods to imagine the culture, landscape, and people of the Tehran, using only their primary city of residence as the location of their photographs. The website will be the vehicle for streaming images to participating venues.

Exhibition Description: Imagine a city that you’ve only seen in reproductions or perhaps have merely heard about. A place, like many others, that only exists for you through indirect sources–the nightly news, hearsay, literature, magazines, movies, and the Internet. Using these secondhand clues as firsthand research materials, invited worldwide participants–who have Never Been to Tehran–take photographs (from their home base) of what they imagine Tehran to look like. Anything that anyone might take a photograph of is fair game, just as long as it feels like Tehran.

As Tehran’s image is regularly depicted in the dominant media, it is a compelling challenge for the participants in this exhibition to sift through the glut of pictures and information to cull out a personally constructed version of an unfamiliar place. For viewers in Tehran, the exhibition presents a chance to witness an unusual mirroring of their globally projected image, taken from the daily lives and environs of outsiders. Collectively, the artists and viewers of Never Been to Tehran will be charting a liminal space stuck somewhere between here and there that in our contemporary existence just might be home.

“The challenge for each participant in this exhibition is to look for a common ground between their city and someone else’s–to blend fact with fiction. It’s a bit like after you read a great book. There is a period of time when the story of the book bleeds into your own life. This daydreaming, in-between state, to which the contributors to this exhibition periodically submit themselves, is an important way of looking at the after-effects of an accelerated information culture.”– Jon Rubin and Andrea Grover

Participants (bios available on request): Dean Baldwin, Canada; Aideen Barry, Ireland; Cedric Bomford, Canada; Otto Von Busch, Sweden and Turkey; James Charlton, New Zealand; Sara Graham, Canada; Andrea Grover, USA; Deniz Gul, Turkey; Levin Haegele, England; Greg Halpern and Ahndraya Parlato, USA; Rumana Husain, Pakistan; Jun’ichiro Ishii, France; Martin Krusche, Austria; Rosie Lynch, Germany; Francesco Nonino, Italy; Elena Perlino, Italy; Heidi Hove Pedersen, Denmark; Sal Randolph, USA; Alia Rayyan, Palestine; Jon Rubin, USA; Jakob Seibel, Germany; Iyallola Tillieu, Belgium; Keiko Tsuji, Japan; Lee Walton, USA; Lindsey White, USA; Christian Sievers, Germany; Zoe Strauss, USA

Photo credits: Heidi Hove Pedersen, Denmark; Keiko Tsuji, Japan; Greg Halpern and Ahndraya Parlato, USA; Jon Rubin, USA; Rumana Husain, Pakistan; Elena Perlino, Italy; Iyallola Tillieu, Belgium; Otto Von Busch, Sweden and Turkey.

Contact: Andrea Grover and Jon Rubin