THIS IS NOT A DRILL
2021 - MASTER OF FINE ART - OCAD UNIVERSITY
The thesis, this is NOT a drill, tries to shine some light on the less seen Iranian diaspora corners. It includes homesickness, loneliness, depression and heartbreak, love, solace, belonging, development, and enrichment. The name of the project comes from a story that I once heard from an Iranian diasporic subject. During the Iran and Iraq war, there were many emergency alerts that warned people to hide in shelters. These alerts always started with "this is not a drill". Iranians had to go to shelters with distress and anxiety, thinking of a chance of being bombed and killed. But there is more to this story. The narrator of this story fell in love with a boy she met while sheltering in their building basement. This created mixed feelings toward the alerts; the feelings of love, passion, and enthusiasm to see the lover, wrapped in hatred, anxiety, and distress about the attacks and bombs. These mixed feeling situations are prevalent for Iranian diasporic communities. Living away from home in a hybrid space creates a hybrid emotion of love and hate. The dispersed members create and shape a community based on the collective memory and history of the homeland, which is romanticized. Memories establish a connection between our individual and collective past. The past consists of our origins, heritage, and histories, and defines our present, meaning that it is always with us. However, there is a tendency for the past to be remembered in an idealized and glamorized version – something we want it to be and not what it really is. This act of romanticization of the past helps us deal with unpleasant situations and achieve a positive outlook. This is why we have a sentimental longing and wistful affection for home.
When I started this project, I was aware of what I want this project to consist of, but I did not know how different parts could complete each other and create a cohesive thesis. The work, “My Thesis” was created at the time when I had all the tools but not the blueprint for making it. Language can be a good metaphor in this context, in the sense that I had all the letters and words, but I needed to communicate with full sentences to transfer meaning. To create this work, I literally spelled all the ideas and titles I had at that time in Farsi and arranged them into the design.