Middle East Lecture 4-17

The lecture today about Middle East art was interesting, but what really caught my attention was Turbulent by Shirin Neshat.  It is a nine minute video in black and white.  On one side a middle eastern man sings on stage with an audience behind him.  While he walks on stage, the other side of the video (on opposite walls for the original installation) is a woman walking on stage, back turned from the camera, facing empty chairs of the auditorium.  The man begins to sing facing the camera.  Music accompanies the man and the camera stays still.  Once the man is finished singing, the audience claps and the woman begins.  No music accompanies the woman.  Instead, she goes by her own melody and rhythm; her own vibrato and crescendo.

I was overwhelmed by the woman’s performance.  Once she began, I completely forgot about the man’s.  Her voice was so powerful and emotional, but adding more to it was her facial expression.  I feel that the simple lighting even drew my eyes more onto her face and pay more attention to her passion.  I was blown away.

Hearing the woman create her own masterpiece clearly gave out the impression that women from the Middle East do not need to be sympathized. They have the capability to use their own voice and express themselves, maybe, even more than men.

This was a piece that really grabbed my attention for the first time in a long time.  Being an art student makes it easy to zone out during art lectures because the majority of the time we have already learned about the piece we are looking at.  Shirin Neshat’s piece really woke me up and made something spark inside my head.  I really, really thought it was something else. Amazing.