Sahra Motalebi’s multimedia work, Intangible Heritages, Belief’s Demise (2014), is a virtual shadow play composed from the shifting shapes of human and non-human sculptural forms that create a series of visual rhythms, projected on screen, which ‘score’ the vocal performance of an original operetta. Through the multidimensional commingling of a visually flattened, albeit moving image, instrumentation and live harmonization with other pre-recorded voices and verses, Motalebi constructs a layered, first-person narrative for the progression of a single character through a series of epic trials based on historical, if neglected archetypes: the prostitute, the warrior-prisoner, and the elderly householder. Derived from ancient Eastern storytelling traditions, the shadow play presaged early cinema and modern animation techniques. In its digital manifestation for Intangible Heritages, Motalebi makes use of abstract and other non-representational methods to transform the articulated figural specificities of the genre into something more ambiguous and spectral. - Kari Rittenbach
A 20 minute, performance installation was performed at
ScultpureCenter, Long Island City, NYC, as part of In Practice, curated by Kari Rittenbach. Full program here
Photos from the top: Sahra Motalebi, Intangible Heritages, Belief’s Demise, 2014. Performance view, In Practice: Chance Motives. Courtesy SculptureCenter, 2014. Photo: Megan Mantia. Right photo: Motalebi in rehearsal by Zach Gross, courtesy the artist. Scene 1 Series featuring Tyler Ashley, courtesy of the artist.