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Gelareh Kiazand

Gelareh – Check-out

Gelareh – Check-out 150 150 Culturistan

Checking out… I am the fisherman of a storyThat has no tourist and no fish I walk away today with much. The word gratitude has been redefined for me, leaving me a sense of worth and value. That human value, that at times can be lost amongst the noise of life, amongst the quick disrespects that pass by where we think it’s ok to ignore. We had our last 2 readings, read with our heavy voices knowing these our last words together. We began our course with poetry and now ending with 2 poems, speaking to us again of the importance of true listening, yet not forgetting that speech is as powerful. The air felt thick on one of the hottest days in France, as the breeze secretly passed through one window and out the other, comforting our goodbyes. When will I experience this all again ? The coming together as to read and discuss. We don’t seem to do that enough back in the “real world”. Sharing ideas on literature, articles and poems combined. I wish we did this more, over natural flavours of food embedded amongst our natural land. To listen and to speak for the value of just listening and speaking with no intentions or bigger goals. We were stripped these past 10days of any external influences, and how quickly we felt the urge on some days to bring old needs back. In our conversations we spoke of Well-being, of goals without being fully selfish, the respect of cultures, yet sometimes the hardest task was to show up on time. The equal power of silence and words. “When I go, your cold house will be Empty of words that made it sweet. I am the sandals your bare feet Will seek long for, wearily. … “– Rainer Maria Rilke I have not yet fully absorbed the depth of all that has been experienced. In my opinion these past 10 days were rare. Atleast in all my 3 decades I have rarely been given so much purity all at once from pure silence to the orchestra of uncaged birds, to the natural raw fields that hadn’t been forced to grow, to the homemade flavours eaten among diverse laughters that had no guards or anything to prove, to being expressive without the need of popularity or social media likes. We connected across 35 Readings, 9 nationalities, 9 souls, 9 minds, 3 generations, 10 days in 1 historical castle with a speed that eliminated stress, materialistic attachment and elongated time. As we drove away, watching the blended colours of Green and yellow, I remembered the Zagros journey, it’s variable speeds each bringing forth its own set of thoughts. How speed…

Gelareh – Day 9

Gelareh – Day 9 150 150 Culturistan

An Ode to Foundarion This morning feels different. It seems harder to go for a run, an energy pulls me back to our castle. As our time comes to a close, this sense of concern rises, of not spending enough time examining our miraculous castle. I’m reminded of that early poem, the one I laughed at, the hurry and wait one, the chocolates that were running out. Had I tasted each one fully? As I stand staring at the constant beauty that surrounds me every morning then did it matter if not all my chocolates were enjoyed to it’s fullest? My runs every morning, the silence that comes with separation was part of this experience of living at the Grillemont Castle. When again will I run in such peace? The sadness settles in as every moment, every colour becomes more dense, more saturated. Our readings were back in the same room where we started 10 days ago, where we first felt nervous, surprised, and said hello. Where we accepted our stories will not have Heroes. Where 10days felt like a lifetime knowing the amount of work that was going to pile up. And now we sit again, as friends this time where we can argue and have emotions, wherein our deep internal layers we know no matter what happens someone will listen and be connected. It’s ok to just be. I don’t remember the last time I was given that space to just be. To be told, please take time and enjoy life, I’m here to support you to have this enjoyment. That my internal struggles will be heard without interruption through readings of all sorts. Yes so much can be done better throughout this residency, “to up the game” but how unique and valuable to be told to be still. I know I needed this. To stand still, and not move my arms too much amongst nature pure without replicates of bird sounds and painted colours for the purpose of intensity. That slowing down was the purpose for once. Technology, AI will always be separate conversations that I will need more time to study. But in the meantime I will enjoy the little things, the one on one moments, looking into each other’s eyes, our human mistakes, listening without comment, being upset, lying on the grass, watching clouds, no standardization…. Authentic serendipity (as one friend put it) ;p

Gelareh – Day 8

Gelareh – Day 8 150 150 Culturistan

Losing language There is much talk on AI, and it’s influence on the arts, specifically to music and paintings. A great focus seems to be inaccuracy and deleting mistakes, to perfect sound and shades of color. But wasn’t the beauty of paintings the people behind its mistakes and the beauty of sound the mixed vibrations mastered by fingers? When did we say as a collective it’s ok to reproduce Rembrandt without him being present? How did we accept that’s it’s ok for the creator to lose the influences before the Art is formed. “…Then we may be left with the body, but risk the loss of the most important thing to those who truly know and love art and history: the soul.” – Noah Charney, Zocalo Greg introduced us to the history of drums and their language of rhythm. The various percussions where through hand pressures forms high and low wave frequencies that have now mainly been transferred through digital. No one is arguing that the digital sounds should go but when did we decide that the drummer should not be on stage, that the audience who is paying to see Live music should hear various stitched together playbacks? I guess what saddens me the most is not the advent of technology but, the loss of hearing a true live concert where nothing is pre-recorded, and how the painters are competing with computers in art spaces just because viewers can’t tell the difference between a human painting or machines. Maybe I’m still old school. I accept that for the preservation of Persepolis or the Chauvet cave or the Mona Lisa is best to have replicates but as mentioned in Day 7, allow me to be a part of my own decisions of what’s best for me. I enjoy human mistakes, like the LIVE 8 concert in the UK where you can hear the breathing and breaks and the improv. There is an authenticity in live mistakes, in highs and lows. Maybe I can say there is a value that can be gained or added. Isn’t there value in the human process to reach or earn their achievements, an authentic journey in discovery? Would it not be a shame for the new generation to not go through the experience? I sometimes feel with certain quick accessibility we can lose its value. If we only have heard drums from a digital machine in an enclosed space and not experienced the various tablas in nature around a fire topped by the screams of sparrows – wouldn’t the value of those tablas be lost? Should we not discuss how our choices can have an effect? Reality is not always based on Truth, – as…

Gelareh – Day 7

Gelareh – Day 7 150 150 Culturistan

Measuring the greed in our goals “For once on the face of the earth,let’s not speak in any language;let’s stop for one second,and not move our arms so much..”– Pablo Neruda How nice it was to open today with one of my favorite poems. The excerpt mentioned above is what I constantly repeat to myself, a reminder to just stand still when I’m too absorbed, impatiently looking for answers. As the various interpretations came in, I gained more perspective. “Maybe we don’t walk in each other’s shoes but we can walk alongside each other” Fayaz added. We can take the time to understand each other without having to completely place ourselves in the other person’s world. There is much life we miss and not absorb when all we know is where we want to go. How many times have I deliberately chosen to listen? “victories with no survivors..” Iason mentioned in the poem. How easy it can be to forget the effects of our gains. Not to say all our wins have repercussions, but it’s being conscious of knowing what we effect as to reach our goals. The ignorance of loved ones, of our land environment. When was the last time it was measured? With technology creeping up quite quickly, it scares me with how I can keep up. Machinesarecreatingart, when we haven’t even yet fully fathomed how it all began. Art always held a strong purpose, and the artist even more alongside its process, with its extreme practice of the craft. Originalworksbecame scarce, in sound, color, structure, paintings…etc. When did we decide in our evolution of higher learning to let go of purpose; to be ok with a quick experience no matter its source? I am not against machines, AI or listening to cover songs as long as you are not forging my experience. Be honest with me, and allow me to decide what experience I would prefer. There will always be replicated, and just like Beltracchi’s work (where barely any difference can be noticed with the originals)a one on one experience with Picasso is offered, but without the honesty, therefore you cannot deny that the emotional connection will be altered no matter the perfection of the work.

Gelareh – Day 6

Gelareh – Day 6 150 150 Culturistan

Today we visited the Château de Chenonceau, a castle extended on water from its original plan in the 11th century. Examining its lifeline, it seemed to accumulate a succession of extremely clever, strong, beautiful ruling women. Something I had not come across in France’s many castles. As I traversed through the dense shifting crowds of tourists, I came across this explanation by a female French academic. It seemed to encompass lingering thoughts, (especially since our home now was a castle too) in a descriptive short manner that would have potentially taken me several months or several pages to execute. My favorite line – Let’s give a thought to some other successive occupants of the chateau, anonymous inhabitants who are far more numerous than those we know or believe we know…

Gelareh – Day 5

Gelareh – Day 5 150 150 Culturistan

Destructive to Constructive “Ponder for a moment, what a shadow is, a space without light,presence in absence, the shape of anything but itself…“– Denise Vargas Being a shadow, was always a favorite of mine. You could be a tree for a day and have people enjoy your shade, to follow a master’s steps without worrying to make your own mistakes. A presence in absence, a rare opportunity to be and not equally. Yes, a space without light but not without soul, like Khayyam’s clay cups wherein its empty space is where that liquid of life is poured. How easily can a shadow, dark, absent, silent be a negative that can define without life, without future? How we can take our daily curve balls life throws as punishment instead of teaching. Where do we decide to separate emotions of hardships with constructive solutions? To take away the self-pity, and loathe coloring it with a rhythm that makes us dance. We have broken the camel’s back, halfway into the course. We are all a family now – Tara, Greg, Estephania, Fayaz, Yasmeen, Iason, Taha, Ahmad and I, all living in a castle filled with unconditional fresh tastes of France’s meadows and farms surrounded by grass, lakes, and trees that were drawn only in our fairytales. The birds’ harmony wakes us as the sun guides us on our morning walks or runs. I have never run as much as I have here, and I can keep running. When will I next be able to experience such life and presence? My senses had heightened from Zagros and now shaped into a particular sharpness amongst everyone’s human stories, tears, and literature. Our talks and readings will soon move towards machines and artificial intelligence, subjects that bring a worry to the ends of my stomach. There is a fear that sits there, why, I can’t yet place. For now, I will keep looking out the windows onto the fields, I can breathe easier.

Gelareh – Day 4

Gelareh – Day 4 150 150 Culturistan

The masks (or costumes) we choose to wear Today I wear pink as to match the blush on my cheekfrom the glare of the boy across the room Today I wear blue as to match the coldness of my fingernailsfrom the stormy skies that broke our shelters Today I wear red as to match the cherry stains of my lipsfrom the orchards we hid in after the rain Today I wear yellow as to match the sun burned highlights of my hairfrom the longs walks to find home Today I wear white as to match the eagerness of my eyesfrom the wait of his reply Today I feel nakedas there is no act from where I take my clotheshe stares at meOh how I feel the need to put something on

Gelareh – Day 3

Gelareh – Day 3 150 150 Culturistan

Strategizing manipulation Inside the Grillemont castle, even on a sunny day presents itself with a coldness hard to redeem even with a hat, woolly shawl and 3 layers of clothes. We are all now used to this temperature, where at first seemed impossible to sit through. A detail where now if gone would take out the familiarity of the place we have come to call home. Our morning sessions began. “…The mind that is not baffled is not employedThe impeded stream is the one that sings”– Wendell Berry The poem, for me, seemed repetitive on how our mind honors “time or energy” with how we question our decisions. Due to this constant reminder, my mind turned off towards the full poem. It frustrated me that again to show concern of thought my mind had to be consumed or baffled as it stated. Maybe like the cold that we had become accustomed to, the reminder and practice of streamlining thoughts would no longer prove to be a task. There is much that we can easily dismiss, as it is repetitive or cliche, but as Ahmad Kiarostami pointed out – “The obvious is never told, therefore it is forgotten”. Now that truly resonated – how in so many occasions I have let the obvious go, an obvious that could have shown compassion and interest. We were back at Truth, it seems to somehow go hand in hand with authenticity. For whenever we aim to see that truth, we look at what’s authentic, separating any influences, conditioning, nuances, and accents that have come forth through in our individual practiced cultures. I thought back to the Zagros mountains, the Bakhtiaris, what our survival instincts generated, our acceptable cultures, who I formed into then and who I am now. How each reality presented itself with its own set of protocols (culture), and if I changed within each culture does that then make me inauthentic? Would I be then manipulating those who have not seen me in other cultures? “She learned from the brief exchange that the way men were able to accept women in politics was to associate them with motherhood. … She began to see that her gender, a liability in many ways, could actually be an asset. To accentuate this opportunity to gain influence, she began to dress and comport herself in a way that reminded men of their mothers…” – Kristin Downey “Birnbaum and Finkelstein’s work has provided a new model for attack politics in this era of global division. …’It always helps rally the troops and rally a population when the enemy has a face’ Birnbaum explained.” – Hannes Grassegger The two excerpts above were taken from two articles, each highlighting individuals that strategized their goal, potentially ‘manipulating’ their associates in the process of reaching that goal. The first a woman whose…

Gelareh – Day 2

Gelareh – Day 2 150 150 Culturistan

How Honest are we with the Truth? In all my time never did I think of the differences, always believing naturally they go hand in hand as to be honest is to be truthful. Yet as our discussions took forth amongst this unique group of 9 individuals, I began to examine their distinction. That yes honesty can be derived from the truth but it does not mean that what one is being honest about is the Truth. “The fifth time when she forbore for weakness, And attributed her patience to strength…” Khalil Gibran There is an honesty to one’s self with where we stand, what we take in and its effects, but it can be far from the truth. The Truth just is, it cannot be subjective. “Reality is bigger than all the facts…”. Fayaz Alibhai continues to explain after our reading from Anwar Iqbal’s squeamish FIFTEEN LASHES. A very detailed account of the flogging in Pakistan which naturally triggered accounts of stories friends once told me back in Iran. Throughout Iqbal’s meticulous description of sound, environment, mood, and actions, which I believe illustrated the scene so intimately; he honored the facts and was honest. Yet the question which was pointed out – how truthful was he to the accounts, his authenticity (the subject of our courses here in delightful France)? To be me, I thought, how much more truthful can he be? “Although I had been writing against public flogging ever since it began, I wanted to watch it. I might go back to my typewriter and condemn it, but I did not want to miss the spectacle. There was an unpleasant discovery to make about myself. A sorrowful, angry disgust – with myself and the country I lived in — this became a feature of my life.”Anwar Iqbal This one honest discovery at the end of all the facts which stemmed from reality seemed to then encompass the whole piece in an authentic envelope. Self-Realization, honest to oneself, almost vulnerable in where Iqbal stood in a position to the flogging. Thus where do we stand with ourselves? The essence of what we all come to in our quest to accomplish, as Ahmad pointed out. How honest can we be with the complexities that we face as to keep our realizations authentic? Can this understanding be simple? Simplifying situations in words has always been one of my hardest tasks. The one way I try to put this in practice is through respecting all the elements that give me that collective experience, as to better grasp its influence so I can (hopefully) be honest with its effects. Being respectful doesn’t mean I will agree but to witness with minimum judgment…

Gelareh – Day 1

Gelareh – Day 1 150 150 Culturistan

Am I the fisherman or the tourist? Quantifying time has always been one of those tricky discussions as each person’s perspective adds a weight worth observing. We are 9 people from 8 countries with a minimum of 32 years worth of experience now being shared around one table, offering much layers to conceive. “Yes, I’m in a hurry. I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give. I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts… We have two lives and the second begins when you realize you only have one. “ – Mario de Andrade Personally, for me, the hurrying to live as to not waste time is one of those paradoxes that resembles saying – Hurry up and wait. What’s the rush? If I were to look at “valuing” time I would consider ways of how that one second, one experience, one something can be prolonged. Maybe adding awareness to each moment and decision, by engaging all the senses? Does it really matter how long you live to do all rather than doing that one thing in its fullness that the result of its experience seems to last a lifetime? Greg Ellis, a professional percussionist and drummer, pointed out to a notion – Why not replace time with energy? Is it not energy that is running out and not time ? – I couldn’t agree more. We fear on missing out mainly because in time our body can deteriorate because our brain may function less because our ability wears down and we no longer can accomplish the things we once thought foolish when we were in our 20s. Once our experiences accumulate our thinking slowly demands depth, our emotions bring perspective and so we worry if we have not put it enough in use. We watch our friends pass away, people we believed would be our witnesses, and time (energy) again becomes a concern. “The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us and more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate; and later on, when it ‘happens’ (that’s is, steps forth out of us to other people ), we will feel related and close to it in our innermost being. And that is necessary…” – Rainer Maria Rilke So are we the fisherman or the tourist? How much are we in control of our decisions in our various circumstances? Do we know when we have fished enough even when there is still room to fish more? Can we prolong our energy instead of time and not hurry to photograph…