The “Listen” series focus on Iranian professional female singers who have been unable to perform solo or to produce their own music since the revolution in 1979. Tavakolian brought these singers to a private studio, and filmed/photographed them performing in front of a chintzy ‘70’s-era backdrop to an imaginary audience. The power of the series lies in the absence, the silence of their passionate performances.
In addition to her portraits of girls and singers, Tavakolian also created fictional CD covers (which metaphorically remain empty) that portray her own interpretation of Iranian society.Tavakolian writes, “For me a woman’s voice represents a power that if you silence it, imbalances society and makes everything deformed. The project ‘Listen’ echoes the voice of these silenced women. I let Iranian women singers perform through my camera while the world has never heard them.” For anyone interested in hearing more from Tavakolian, here is a brief video interview.
Como la semilla
Lleva nueva vida
Hay en esta primavera una nueva era
A Visual History
A beautiful song by Flamenco artist Paco de Lucía:
From The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera:
“Our day to day life is bombarded with fortuities or, to be more precise, with the accidental meetings of people and events we call coincidences. ‘Co-incidences’ means that two events unexpectedly happen at the same time, they meet: Tomas appears in the hotel restaurant at the same time the radio is playing Beethoven. We do not even notice the great majority of such coincidences. If the seat Tomas occupied had been occupied instead by the local butcher, Tereza never would have noticed that the radio was playing Beethoven (though the meeting of Beethoven and the butcher would also have been an interesting coincidence). But her nascent love inflamed her sense of beauty and she would never forget that music. Whenever she heard it, she would be touched. Everything going on around her at that moment would be haloed by the music and take on its beauty.
… [Human lives] are composed like music. Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurrence (Beethoven’s music, death under a train) into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual’s life… Without realising it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress.
It is wrong, then, to chide the novel for being fascinated by mysterious coincidences, but it is right to chide man for being blind to such coincidences in his daily life. For he thereby deprives his life of a dimension of beauty.”
The German philosopher Immanuel Kant once said, “There are two things that don’t have to mean anything in order to give us very deep pleasure: one is music and the other is laughter”
But what is music? Can silence be music? Can the sound of traffic be music?
John Cage said: “The sound experience I prefer to all others is the experience of silence… If you listen to Bethoven or Mozart you see that it’s always the same, but if you listen to traffic you see that it’s always different”
With his composition 4’33” Cage proved that there’s no such thing as silence and he put forward the theory that all silence is music.
Play this video and listen to the sounds around you for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Repeat as many times as you want, you will hear a different song each time.
I hear: a faraway sound of a cooing pigeon, the wind, the phone ringing in the flat upstairs, a car speeding past, a gate closing downstairs, another gate slamming, a crashing sound (what is that?), a bird singing, voices coming from downstairs, a car screeching, and the pigeon is still cooing… This is the music of a Thursday morning in Tarragona.
What do you hear?
A song before bed…