A Media Artist's Response To Failing Diplomacy

When BriAnna Olson's pacifist views were confronted by an adamant American couple, she decided to heed their challenge and head to Tehran-- the epicenter of the Axis of Evil nation.

Amongst a landscape of failed diplomacy and media smear campaigns, she and fellow artist Michael Pope found a society far more alive and hospitable than they'd ever been led to believe.

Like jesters of a modern-day Magellan, they've returned with stories and insights to a culture few American's have seen first hand.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feb 11 2010 // 22 Bahman -- Iran's "Fourth of July"

Tomorrow is the official anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution of Iran- and Iran's green movement is heading out in full force to protest.

Want to follow Iran's Green Movement in real-time
(i.e. before CNN cuts it up into soundbites for Friday) ?


....click here for full article/permalink.

Mellat Park

....click here for full article/permalink.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Short Interview w/me on Social Networking and #iranelection

(Interview Questions posed by Meena Ganesan.... I start riffing...)

BriAnna Olson:

Obviously social networking has taken citizen journalism to a whole new level. Why is an online medium so effective? Its really quite simple: Instant access coupled with people "just like you and me" that is, without journalism careers to consider.

The Importance of Following a Controversy So Closely

The Iranian election controversy, in particular, will define the course of history-- for not just 'the other side of the world', but the entirety of a world that constantly struggles with the relationship between religion and policy.

There is a very sizable population of secular educated Iranians who have, after an ugly, bloody revolution (1979) that was hellbent on getting US/capitalist/untrustworthy interests out of their government/country, let the religious take the reins of the country-- forcing many of them out of jobs and into hejabs.

When they saw Obama get elected, they saw a new hope-- and when they felt their election was stolen from them-- they fought back with 30 years of pent up frustration. I think we are seeing the pendulum swing on a large scale-- I only hope that, once all is said and done, the secular do not ostracize the religious-- inviting another round of push and pull.

Mostly, I just hope we can all see & recognize the successes and failures of integrating religion with social policy.

Challenges & Benefits to Tweeting/Blogging about Iran

For one, again, instant access and 'on the ground' reports- half a minute after someone in Tehran has posted, thousands of people, from Cairo to New York to Sydney, can read.

Another benefit was the whole concept of "re-tweeting" (RT) information-- after its original post short 140 character sentences can be 're-broadcast' by recipients, reaching pocket after pocket after pocket of social network.

With the use of hashtags, Twitter created an instant database of #iranelection musings that could be sifted and sorted.

One of the first challenges, or primary concerns, was the reliability of information. I was fortunate enough to know the handful of legit Iranian "Tweeters" to follow on Twitter, so never had to face the issue of "true or not true". Only once did I retweet (via a stranger) without checking the source and retracted within 60 seconds after understanding the harm that the potential disinformation could have created. Several days in, according to many, government agents had infiltrated Twitter to create disinformation. Again, I had already established a relationship with other sources, so was not privy to who was who on that end.

The other major challenge was that anyone based out of Tehran that provided information on Twitter was at risk of arrest. The natural response of the Twitter community, on request, was to change their locations to Tehran (to create far too many profiles to sift through) as well as drop the established protocol of embedding the original source in a RT (to protect identities but keep information flowing).

Personal Connections

As for personal connections, yes, there are many. Everyone I met during my trip last October is a personal connection. Whether it was a translator, cab driver, artist or gallery owner, every one of them let us know their country is ripe for change and expressed an intense want for an evolution of our diplomatic dialogue. They all knew our (then) upcoming election was a big deal-- and they promised us that if we kept McCain out of office, they'd do the same with Ahmadinejad. 

....click here for full article/permalink.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Revolution Will Be Twitpic'd

I am following the events of Iran's election very closely on Twitter. So closely that I haven't given a moment to consider writing about it. One thing is for certain, the path of history travels through Iran and all should watch our as our generation slowly defines itself.

Watch the #iranelection twitter feed (in real time) here.

Above image from @madyar on Twitter.

When the dust settles, I hope to offer you, internet, my opinion and collected interviews on the subject.

....click here for full article/permalink.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

"Papa'ism" @ Exhibition in Paris

Attention Parisians and Globetrotters, Vahid Sharifian (see posts from our trip to Iran) will be part of a group show (all Iranian artists) at Gallerie Thaddaeus Ropac [7 Rue Debelleyme]. There you can see an installation of his "Hurt Stars". The curator at Ropac lauds Sharifians coined "Papa'ism" which he sees as a critique of both Dadaism and Pop Art.

Opens Feb. 19, Closes March 27.

Also in the show:

Shirin Aliabadi - Maryam Amini - Ali Banisadr - Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakhar - Ala Dehghan
Bita Fayyazi - Shahab Fotouhi - Ghazel - Ramin Haerizadeh - Rokni Haerizadeh - Y.Z. Kami
Avish Khebrehzadeh - Laleh Khorramian - Farhad Moshiri - Behrouz Rae

....click here for full article/permalink.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Presentation/Lecture @ Emerson College in Boston

This Feb. 12th, the Visual and Media Arts Department of Emerson College is sponsoring an event with Yours Truly.

The Cabaret @ 80 Boylston St. Boston, MA.
Secret stories, candid answers.

Live in Boston and want to attend? Send a note.



....click here for full article/permalink.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Interview on GlobalVoicesOnline.org

I credit the interviewer with how well this article came out.

Check it out and definitely keep an eye on their site-- a great resource for global goings-on, straight from the voices of people who are blogging on their own time (like this one!).

....click here for full article/permalink.