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OCC The Title “Turbulent” and the Viewers Encounter Discussion

OCC The Title “Turbulent” and the Viewers Encounter Discussion


In our discussion this week we explore Shirin Neshat’s video installation, Turbulent (1998). Like Shahrnush Parsipur, Shirin Neshat was born and grew up in Iran, but has been living in the US, in exile from her native Iran, since 1974. Consequently, much of her artwork deals with issues such as exile, displacement and identity. And, as we see in both Turbulent and The Carnival is Over (which we’ll explore next week), Neshat’s artwork engages with matters to do with sexuality, gender, and gender identity. Read through the prompts below carefully, and then post your comments. Remember the following ground rules for the discussion:

Post ONE comment in response to one of the prompts below. Your comment should be at least ONE paragraph (6-8 sentences)

  • 1.Shirin Neshat’s video installation, Turbulent, consists of two separate screens, the first of which presents a man singing an intense, passionate love song (written by the medieval Sufi mystic, Rumi), and the second of which presents a woman singing in an extraordinary manner, without words, using a range of different, often disturbing, sounds. How well does the title, Turbulent, relate to the performances presented on the two screens? Does the title, Turbulent, explain what viewers encounter in Neshat’s video installation of the two separate performances? Discuss (and remember to include specific examples from both videos — or performances — to support your discussion).
  • 2.The Canadian filmmaker, Atom Egoyen, discusses his response to Neshat’s Turbulent in a wonderful short essay. The following are excerpts from that essay: Almost a quarter of a century after the Iranian revolution, Neshat is clearly intending a sharp critique of the patriarchal, fundamentalist society that was once her home.and,What is so provocative about Turbulent is that no judgement can be passed without a thorough examination of the context these respective singers are placed in. The male performance is socially sanctioned and realistic. The woman’s performance is outlawed and exists only as a dream,and,There is a visceral shock to the physical nature of its drama. Is the male singer remembering this woman? Is she a figment of his imagination, or is he a figment of hers? Is she the possible subject of his song? Does he feel guilt? Shame? Wonder? Fear?Comment on Egoyan’s responses here to Neshat’s Turbulent. Do these help you to understand what you encounter in Neshat’s video installation? Discuss.
  • 3.How do you understand and explain the woman’s performance in Neshat’s video installation, Turbulent? Is her performance a direct response to the man’s singing, even though there’s no indication that she’s aware of him or his performance? The man sings the exquisite and mystical poetry of the Sufi mystic, Rumi, but the woman’s singing is unearthly; she sings without words, offering instead a series of strange and disturbing sounds. What do you think this means? Are there no words to express what she attempts to express in her performance? Does the absence of words In the woman’s performance suggest subversion, perhaps? Her courageous resistance to the status quo that refuses her the opportunity to perform on stage, in front of an audience in a public place
  • 4.Do you have any lingering thoughts, confusions, questions or insights that you’d like to share with other class members?DO NOT USE EXTERNAL SOURCES AND DO NOT PLAGERIZE. Thank you

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