Using materials from the Ajam Digital Archive, Narges Bajoghli recounts the experiences of Iran-Iraq War veterans who spent endless days during their youth fighting in close combat in dark and bloody trenches.
Through Bashu’s attempts to assimilate into a village where his dark skinned features and Khuzestani Arabic denotes his displacement, Beizai’s film prompts criticisms of ethnocentric Persian nationalism and questions the experience of blackness in Iran, while neatly underscoring the tension between nationalism and gender.
The satellite dish made a significant impression on Iranian society in those years. It was an accessible window into other worlds. Iranians could glimpse the social lives of other peoples through its programs; learn of the latest consumer goods through its advertisements; and follow life-style channels.
The Paykan, like many of its drivers, has survived the tumult of revolution, war, reconstruction, and economic crises. The resilience of the Paykan mirrors that of 20th and 21st Century Iran, which can explain why it still endures not only as functional car, but also as a symbol of collective experiences and an object of nostalgia.
Since the Revolution, Iranian urban fabric has been reshaped to both reflect and produce ideals of modern Islamic citizenship as understood by various political actors including the central government, the municipality, and other authorities. Tehran has been marked by a wholesale reconstitution and realignment of the public space along a gender binary model, such that many public institutions are segregated in some way and the morality police regulate spaces that lack a physical architecture of gender dichotomization.
There was a time when the southwestern Iranian city of Abadan drew in immigrants from all over the world, and when its place as an oil city and harbinger of modernity seemed unmatched in the region. Today these memories often obscure the price paid for the construction of this cosmopolitan entrepôt. This piece is the second part in a series exploring how Abadan is imagined in Iran today.