Between a Lost Home and a Losing Destination

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Director: Illya Mousavijad
Producer: Illya Mousavijad
Screenwriter: Illya Mousavijad

I try to cope with what it means to be from Iran and live in the U.S. In the past several decades, a series of assaults carried back and forth between these self-proclaimed enemies—each coated with crude rhetorical justifications—has laid out a political landscape that I cannot escape: It is my life and also the contemporary history of the Iranian Diaspora. The political predicament that has emerged between Iran and the U.S. has displaced and destabilized the lives of many. Exile, which has evolved, immersed, and expanded in various shapes and discourses, best describes, or perhaps defines this condition. It has created an exceedingly terrifying binary that I must face without a choice. What remains is a matter of different forms of rejection, or hesitant longing and embracement.

The story of the “magic carpet” in The Thousand and One Nights represents a rug that can transport its passenger instantly in a split of a second. A kind of teleport. It is a way to transcend locality, which is contrary to a literal fly from one point to another in the sky or on the face of the earth, as illustrated in the biblical story of King Solomon or Disney’s Aladdin. I find this distinction fascinating and appropriate in offering a remarkable analogy to describe and investigate the experience of exile. In addition, the carpet in Iranian culture is a representation of the garden, which itself is a utopian curation and spatial construct. So, the carpet is a double layered metaphoric space. Reflection upon reflection.

Using 3D scanning, photogrammetry, and 3D modeling, I recreated the objects of my memories from family feasts and gatherings in Iran. Moments created around food and nourishment. Memories inaccessible to me from afar while I am residing in the U.S. Memories perhaps also inaccessible to my family and friends in Iran due to political and financial distress. Using computer animation engine, I programed and edited the dynamics and collisions of these objects with each other and the carpet to create a surreal construct exploring the sense of volatility and precarity as well as representing an inherent stunning beauty. A metaphoric expression for the complex exilic experience of the Iranian diaspora and identity.

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