Adam Cohen presents Saam Farahmand’s first American solo exhibition. GOD GONE. The exhibition will be on view at A Hug From The Art World (515 West 19th Street, New York, NY, 10011) from March 10 to April 2, 2022.
God Party is a series of looping movies merging into a “mega-loop,” with each new segment seamlessly joining the last, almost echoing the unbroken structure of the blockchain. The films were all shot in the Warner Brothers Studio Backlot in 2018, with a giant robotic platform with an ambitious design (the “Titan-X”, built for the manufacture of this piece before being removed for its complexity). After two years of post-production, God Party now presents itself as a high-resolution LED wall installation.
After waiting more than a decade for technology to catch up to the scale of his ambition, Farahmand was able to move the camera through the environment with uncompromising control and precise repetition.
The laws of film have been calibrated to those of contemporary advertising, insofar as poetry, symbolism and allegory coexist with spectacle and pageantry. Characters play fragmented vignettes of stylized atrocities, like merged social media algorithms, banner ads, news, and pop culture fever dreams.
When all primary human experience and raw human nuance has been appropriated and given audiovisual form, where then do we find the raw, or the primary?
As the French author Georges Duhamel says: “I can no longer think what I want to think, my thoughts have been replaced by moving images.”
Farahmand assimilates and questions the benchmarks and codes of commercially motivated audiovisual languages. In particular, the use of affirmation psychology to target free thinkers and advanced contemporary mutations of marketing languages, which seek to co-opt social politics, identity politics and activism as part of their messaging and their mission.
The incongruity of a 2022 wartime stream is where Farahmand’s work lives. It’s not about hitting up or down, and it’s not a matter of judgment, but it’s a questioning of an impending and unavoidable reality. If you look at what’s side by side in your feed today, it’s the rapidly dissolving line between atrocity and pop culture/consumerism.
Saam Farahmand, Iranian-British videographer and filmmaker, was born in 1979, the year of the Iranian revolution. Her aunt was imprisoned for removing her headscarf in public and her grandfather, a public figure, was executed by soldiers of the new regime. His parents gave birth to him in London. His earliest movie memories were homemade edits of television movies his father had made for him on VHS, without telling him that he had cut any profanity, sex, or violence scenes. For many years he believed Rambo to be an existential 22-minute silent story of a wandering man in the forest.
Farahmand took the same Goldsmiths Fine Art course as several Turner Prize winners, including Steve McQueen. He worked primarily as a videographer and was featured in Bloomberg’s New Contemporaries, before transitioning fully into pop culture and becoming the first color director to win “Best Director” at the MVAs in the UK and be named “one of the most influential musicians”. videographers of his generation” by The Guardian and Times magazine.
He has worked with artists such as Mick Jagger, Janet JacksonRihanna, MIA, Marc Ronsonthe late rapper Juice Wrld and the late designer Lee (Alexander) McQueen whom he encouraged to make his first narrative film before he died.
Farahmand has created campaigns for global brands including Apple, Comcast, Absolute Vodka, Coca Cola, NBC, Ford, Lincoln, McDonalds, Pirelli, Levis, The Grammys and Nike. His work has appeared in exhibitions and festivals around the world and in numerous publications including President barack obamathe guest edition of Wired magazine.
History of the selected exhibition: Drama, Asia House, London (2018). VideoPortraits, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2009). Ghost, Palazzo Pitti, Florence (2009). Part of the Weekend Never Dies, Royal Festival Hall, London (2008). The Paradiso Effect, Hayward Gallery, London (2008). The Paradiso Effect, ICA London (2005).