Ice

A poem by Khayyam, classical Persian epicurean poet whose poetry regrets the brevity and fragility of life.

Cube

  The outer cube narrates a man’s everyday thoughts, the inside cube his inner anxieties.

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Jacques Prévert

Faust


A pack of cigarettes, each with some lines from Goethe’s opening pages of Faust, describing Faust’s frustration with his own wisdom.
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Pill

It is the days of life that counts, not death. Where are you going? You will never find what you are looking for. When gods created man, death was his share—they kept life to themselves. Thus, Gigamesh! Drink and eat, fill your stomach, be joyful day and night! Celebrate every day with joy! Put on neat clothes, freshen your body in fresh water! Be happy in the arms of women! —Gilgamesh


Gilgamesh

A machine that allows you to read a text one word at a time.

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Arthur Rimbaud

Each cell is filled with a different kind of spice found in Persian Bazar, corresponding to one line of the poem.

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Octavio Paz

‘Solo for Two Voices’, by Octavio Paz. The theme of the poem is dichotomies. Certain words of the poem becomes warmer as the installation is switched on.

Immanuel Kant

The Reading Machine accompanying the following text by Immanuel Kant from his Critique of Judgment tries to illustrate Kant’s mode of thinking.

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Hume & Rousseau

The following text by David Hume taken from his autobiography is to be read in this Reading Machine while the accompanying blue substance dissolves in water at a very slow rate (the complete dissolution takes days.) This is countered by another machine pictured below accompanying Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s excerpt from Confessions describing his uneasy character. Hume and Rousseau met in their life-time but the two thinkers could not tolerate each other’s temperament.

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Tent (Indoor)

This box is for taking a sarcastic refuge from the outside world to the interior world of poetry. The Persian translation of the following poem by René Chare is readable once the viewer is inside it.

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Tent (Outdoor)

The tent is a portable interior space intended for reading a poem by René Char. It attempts to construct a temporary refuge through a luminous seclusion demanded and promised by classical poetry  and denied in the last line of the poem.

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Freehand Rachmaninoff

Choreographer’s Handwriting

Mouth Piece

Highly Problematic



“I knew you’d like the Enemy! He’s the person
May pen in plastic fashion a new verse on
The Heldenleben and colossi’s lot,
Or with his pen put penclubs on the spot.
He knows to live comes first. No bee in his bonnet
Outbuzzes any other that lands on it.
His balance is astonishing when you consider
He has never sold himself to the highest bidder,
Never has lived a week for twenty summers
Free of the drumfire of the camouflaged gunners,
Never has eaten a meal that was undramatic—
Without the next being highly problematic.
Never succumbed to panic, kaltes blut
His watchword, facing ahead in troubled mood.
He has been his own bagman, critic, cop, designer,
Publisher, agent, char-man and shoe-shiner.
What he has just narrated of double-dealing
Is nothing to what he could, of professional stealing,
Of the betrayal of unpublished texts to ladies,
A court d’idees, and other crimes (his fate is
Of course to be a quarry of rich pickings,
He’s the bull’s-eye of ‘brain-pickers’ like the dickens)—
Of unwelcome names bluepencilled in an article
Caught in the act, and minding not a particle
(We suffer from a strange delusion—that is
That our age is ‘straighter’ than was grand-daddy’s!)—
Of that discrimination against all writers
Suspected of having eyes in their heads. Good fighters
When-driven-in-corners are common: but here’s a fellow
Who does not wait to be trapped—an aggressive fellow!
I was sure you’d like him and that was why I brought him—
It was a piece of luck it happened that I caught him.”


Lewis, Wyndham: Collected Poems and Plays. Ed. Alan Munton. Manchester:Carcanet 1979, 60.

Truth Is a Mammal Walking Down the Milky Way

A children’s book providing a cynical view into adult life.

CHAPTER 1

First supposition—Walls are rigid. False. Walls fall. Roofs collapse. Windows break. People die. Eartthhqquaake. Walls are gone. Roofs frame the sky. People are less in number. No windows needed.

Second supposition—Walls do not grow. Oh, walls do grow. There is an obsession to build. brick brick brick: wall. brick nothing brick: window. Somebody up there fixes the roof. A house. A palace. Apartments. Buildings. Dwellings. Edifices. Flats. City grows. Nothing stops it, not even war.

War proves the first supposition. It penetrates walls; it creates surprising windows where they are not needed. It sets up factories, builds roads, makes uniforms and lots of noise. It turns things serious and grows you up very fast, up to the majestic moon. You feel the delirious stream flowing in the air, penetrating everything. Trees dance in the wind singing passionately, people hold each other’s hands. Good day, Madam. Chickens flutter. As it gusts, the soldiers shrink. SMALler smaller small sma. No cameraman shoots them from the viewpoint of their boots. Others do from the window. Bullets joyfully flow in the wind breezing from the frameless window. No windowpanes for you to touch.

The third supposition is: soldiers do not blubber. Soldiers are made of paper. When they weep they get wet. You take one and write on it. You fold it. Paper-rolls march joyfully. Sheets of paper thrown out of airplanes twirl in the air. When soldiers are shot they bloom. Sometimes they blossom in trees. Other times they burgeon in the sky at night. At the end of a war, everyone gets crumbled. False. Men are many. They are hidden in houses so their number is underestimated. All of us die sooner or later. In a war it is sooner than later. That is all. Soldiers are efficient.

During wars people are not necessarily bitter. War makes noise at frontlines. Those who are at home are sometimes cheerful sometimes not. Even without a war they are sometimes cheerful sometimes not. At wartime, they listen more to the radio and talk more. They get married and procreate. Under all conditions. When houses lose their form, they build new ones. When there is a need for a roof, they build a roof. When injured, they do not remain injured. They move towards one of the two directions: recuperation or death. If they recover they become cheerful again. If they die, others become cheerful again after a while. Those who are injured in the frontline do not remain there. They look at their wound and realise that they are injured. Then they think of what should be done next. Those who die suffer no more. Just do not be afraid for it smudges your cheer.

Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil

By Alain Badiou, translated to Persian from French and English

Second edition, 2010, Cheshmeh Publications, Tehran

You can order the book from here.

Socialism and Individualism

An English to Persian translation of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Soul of Man under Socialism’ and other essays.

Second edition, Cheshmeh Publications, Tehran, 2010.

You can order the book from here.