Interviews about the Road, the Drive and the Dark Matter
Friday 29 April 2016 / جمعه ۱۰ اردیبهشت
6pm (GMT+ 3.30)
Nader Koochaki, Asphalt Roll, 2015, B&W photographs, Variable dimensions
Asphalt, or bitumen, is the viscous, black and sticky substance familiar to man since antiquity and a residual product of petrochemical processes. Mixed together with gravel, asphalt forms the ever-expanding surface for the modern world and its movements. From school yards to expressways, from smog-ridden cities to road trip getaways, from the glistening rainy sidewalks to speeding youngsters in the night, asphalt has become the omnipresent, dark matter that surrounds most necessities of our daily urban existence. While we project such visual, emotional and cultural narratives on the bitumen-paved roads and streets, we almost never discuss asphalt as a unifying substance, a common nominator for these observations.
Talking Asphalt works as set of miniature interviews into the various aspects into the theme of asphalt in the urban culture of Tehran. With no preset agenda, we aim to learn from individuals engaged with the material itself, the forms of motorised movement, the road users and professionals, the observers of cultures it enables and the networks and urban spaces it is used to build. From traffic jams to hitting the Road 59, we remain curious as to where talk about asphalt may lead.
While asphalt forms a significant material mass in cities, it mostly comes across as the utilitarian and banal urban surface. Jalal Mousavi is a specialist working in the petroleum technology industry,among other things, with asphalt. But what is asphalt exactly? Here, in addition to its technological meaning, we also think of asphalt as an abstraction, a dark matter. What is the history and science behind it, or where will the use of asphalt go in the future?
With a selection of clips, film researcher Ali Gholipour will talk of the cultural and cinematic imprints of the Jade Chaloos, the Karaj dam and driving up to the North. We ask, can driving be considered a filmic experience? What significance have films had in the formation of the “North” – a wide-spread cultural reference for Tehranians?
Hirad Amiri is an all-around expert in cars, their inner and external workings and their maneuvering – with extensive technical, economic and cultural knowledge related to vehicles. How does Tehran and its car culture appear in his line of work? Is there more to cars than meets the eye? In a city that is overrun by cars, what is the lure of driving: What is there to love? Can driving be a performance, a game or play?
The event was organised by the MOP Foundation at the KNACK Art Group space, as part of the MOP CAP 2015 winner Nader Koochaki’s on-going project research. The discussion was co-moderated by the MOP CAP 2015 curator Mika Savela and Fereshte Moosavi.
Knack Art Group
# 7, Sina Alley, Nil, Takhârestan Street, Zafar, North Modarres Highway, Tehran