A Mimesis of Nothingness is an open dialogue between Siavash Amini and Nooshin Shafiee. In this instance, Shafiee’s photographs unite with Amini’s stark and sometimes ethereal soundscapes. Their hometown of Tehran became both the ignition and the focal point for the record, and A Mimesis of Nothingness blends the abstract with unedited and uncensored musical footage.
The two artists met at the Emkan Gallery in Tehran. At the time, Shafiee’s second solo exhibition was in progress, and in the same gallery, Amini was setting up the sound art space, SEDA Projects. Translating the photographs, which have been described as containing ‘ephemeral situations and melancholic moods’, Amini’s music walks between and sidles into dimensions other than its own. A thin line separates the concrete from the abstract and the facts from the suggestive, and the music, as well as the photography from the acclaimed artist, pans first one way and then the other, moving in stereo. This should come as no surprise, as in recent years Amini’s music has been drawn like a magnet to the exploration of the metaphysical, with the varying dimensions of space, acoustic projection, and minimal sound design all being thoroughly investigated and pursued. Amini focusses on the experience of place, from the viewpoint of an individual as well as on a collective scale, and how the subconscious mind influences and interprets those experiences and physical sensations.
In both aspects of their work, Tehran hasn’t been modified, edited, or moulded to suit an artistic vision, nor do they project anything fanciful – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. It shows the real Tehran, not what people want you to see through the careful editing of advertising or tourism, but real images from the Iranian capital. No utopic, unrealistic images are in sight, and the music is all the better for it. Sometimes clanking into industrial zones, and at other times arriving at a thin, ghostly drone that seems to float towards the spiritual, Amini’s music holds nothing back. On ‘Moonless Garden’, the sound turns exotic, and the field recordings of natural wildlife help in colouring the music. ‘A Collective Floundering’ shrieks like metal grinding against metal, and the darker drone has the feel of a hostile takeover. Amini’s music is and always has been marked by a great intensity, and an unstoppable force is present inside the music, where a cutting tone or a vindictive melody is never far away. Direct and hard-hitting, the record nevertheless manages to transcend its surroundings, rising to the stars and then coming back down to street level with a growling, vicious harmony. Through the mediums of photography and music, Tehran reveals itself to the artists and to a global audience, making the music and the photographs a lesson in authenticity. You can trust Amini to deliver the goods, and this is another superlative release.