The Promise of Loss in Brooklyn Rail

Posted in Arario New York by arariogallery on February 4, 2010

It would be an understatement to say that Iran exists in turmoil largely due to internal conflicts. The ideological separations occur on two levels: within the Islamic community there are historical differences between the Shiites and the Sunnis. This we know. However, what has come into international prominence in recent months, given the aftermath of what many believe to have been a bogus election, is the tension between “the Islamic Republic of Iran and the idea of Persia,” (to quote the catalog essay of the exhibition, The Promise of Loss: A Contemporary Index of Iran) which constitute strong differences between orthodox and liberal positions within the fabric of Iranian society. In either case, this “continuous face-off” has been more or less the mainstay over the past 30 years. In addition, it would appear that forces from the outside have had a tendency to exacerbate these conflicts, either by taking advantage of the disjuncture (as in the Iran-Iraq War) or by lacking a clear understanding of the history from which these conflicts evolved. In our highly mediated, politicized era, this conundrum has found little respite. Internal political conflicts emanating from within the region are never easy to discern, particularly when interpreted from the outside. Ambiguity filters through the news media, and, in the process, oversimplifies the reality. As a result, the unreality is heightened through the rhetoric of confrontation. It is a power play on all sides perpetuated through heavily invested globalized networks. Conflicts are instantly “branded” and the consequences of this branding are authorized by “the news.” The question is: whose news?

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