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Synopses & Reviews
Urban Iran is a depiction of everyday life apart from international and diplomatic policies, giving voice to people living and working in Iran today while probing the complexities of contemporary Iran. Described and revealed by photographers, writers and visual artists, from street art to heavy metal bands and book publishing, Urban Iran documents how the Western media gaze influences how much of the world views Iran, but also how this gaze impacts how Iranians see themselves, especially in the realm of the creative arts.
Novelist Salar Abdoh relays how his adventures driving a Puegot 206 hatchback in and around Tehran were emblematic of a “split in the personality of the country . . . what makes Iran so difficult to describe to non-Iranians”; Tehran-based photographer and designer Karan Reshad offers images of markets and the country’s burgeoning graffiti scene, most notably the work of A1ONE; articles from the magazine Bidoun delve into Tehran’s largest housing complex, Iranian facial hair trends and the country’s underground heavy metal scene; Charlotte Noruzi’s personal stories about the effects of her childhood books that remain with her today, resulting in her exploration of the current state of publishing and illustration in Iran today.
Together, all of these parts form a whole, an intimate portrait that is insightful and visually diverse.
Writers, photographers and artists reveal everyday life in contemporary Iran.
Contemporary Iran is a complex place. The 1979 Revolution incited many changes, influencing how the country was perceived by its residents as well as by the rest of the world. Today, Iran serves as one of the pivot points for international economic and diplomatic policies because of its location, huge oil reserves and nuclear capabilities. These multifaceted issues can overshadow the lives of individuals doing nothing more than trying to live their lives. Urban Iran gives voice to these people living and working in Iran today. Through photographs of contemporary street culture by the artist Alone - from graffiti to marketplaces to the underground music scene - a portrait of what daily life looks like in some of Iran's larger cities emerges. Written contributions from writers like prominent Iranian novelist Salar Abdoh further the issues and ideas presented in the photographs, revealing an Iran that is as divorced from the American media gaze as it is inextricably linked.
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