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Curating and Weaving Memories:

Critical Multimodal Collaborations

 

Cologne International Forum Innovative Tandem Collaboration: October 2023 - September 2024

Dr. Arjang Omrani (Ghent, Belgium)

Partner at the University of Cologne: Dr. Simone Pfeifer (Social and Cultural Anthropology)

Abstract

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This project problematizes the systematic marginalization and exploitation of the weavers in the regime of production and trade of the (Persian) handmade carpets. The majority of the weavers have been traditionally the invisible and low-income agents, downgraded as a production machine, distantiated and alienated from their craft. This project critically argues that if the handmade carpets continue to be massively produced, at a relatively affordable price, it is due to the exploitation of the weavers. This begs the question how this condition can be changed. 

As a response, this project tends to experiment with a solution through an art-based practice with an interventional approach that stresses the necessity of a radical transformation in the weaver's condition from what is interpreted as an instrument of weaving to an author. To pursue a transformation: of the weaver from an invisible to a visible agent; of the carpet from an artisan work to artwork and from a product to a medium of expression

Through a collaborative and ‘sharing’ process, the project aims to inspire some weavers to weave their own diaries or life stories, as the primary step toward its main goals. It suggests: “Instead of weaving the patterns ordered by others, what if you weave your own story?” 

The weavers may through an interactive workshop rediscover their craft as a medium, and the language of textures, colors, knots, thickness, and the like, as the tools for storytelling. To realize the awareness that spells: I know who I am, and I know what I am doing, and why.

The woven carpets alongside the poetic/collaborative – audio-visual – presentation of each weaver and the specific artwork will be presented through multi-modal and multi-platform exhibitions with the tendency to sell the artworks and to return the major share to their artists. 

 

 
 
Dr. Arjang Omrani

I am an anthropologist–filmmaker, currently a postdoc researcher (FWO fellowship) at the Department of Psychology and Educational Sciences at the University of Ghent, Belgium.

In an interdisciplinary environment, I am engaged with multimodal, embodied, and collaborative modes of knowledge production within the framework of ‘shared anthropology’ and ‘critical public pedagogy’. I am exploring the more-than-textual —multimodal— processes of research and publications and pursuing the creative application of anthropology that tends to be inclusive – both for the people whom it works with and the wider public in general.