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First Blog Post for Der Greif: The image as evidence

The documentary image—By embracing its reality as a fiction, and by announcing its own presence (and not only what it re-presents: the pretended semblance to an unassembled reality) what it becomes is a sign. A sign that traces its own history, or quite simply: an evidence. This is, in part, how I see this series, which in a way both is and is not a documentary series, since what it attempts to explore, in stages, is the different ways that what is there to be seen, and what is not seen, reveals itself in different ways, in the light of our shared, and personal histories. And in the first place—and this is where I begin—what I am interested in is the surface. With the screen itself, or the stage. With what reveals (and not what is there, at first, revealed, but rather the place, the mirror, in which the world as image appears). But that where, the world as mirror, is itself for us an image, since it is always, and only made meaningful as an image. And again, what interests me is the way in which our understanding of it—of the world—precedes us, and exactly how its meaning and experience for us changes, including the experience of familiar worlds. As, for example, when we migrate—how that distance gives home, our image of home, the air of fiction. But there is a certain truth in this experience too—in the way that distance makes you see things. And really, this is what I’m trying to capture first of all in this series. This sense that leaving ruptures your connection to the place you’ve left behind so that, even when you return, it’s like you’re always waiting to arrive. That rupture is always there; and the way that the past and present, and the presence and absence of all those things that are (or were) both there and not there is felt, it conditions your whole experience. So about my making work about my homeland, Iran—my closeness and my own regard makes it impossible for me to tell what impersonal value my images might have—as reportage, say. But what is there to be seen represents only one side of what is, or can be evidenced. There is also our being there, our presence; and again, it is this that interests me first of all—the different ways that we construct our images of the world, of home, and so on. Different ways of seeing, and of making sense. The image as testimony. As true fiction.

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