Open Journal Systems

Silent Shout Photography, Women, and the Iranian Rooftop (1953, 1979, 2009)

Brynn Hatton

Abstract


The historical lineage of photographic representations of the rooftop in Iran, as keyed to three pivotal, modern moments — the 2009 elections, the 1979 revolution, and the 1953 coup — demonstrates how the roof functions as a space from which attempts by Iranian women to reorder, contest, and invert political relations through sound have been recurrently staged. This paper argues that representations from within this photographic lineage constitute a productive political transition between sonic and visual regimes; one that is actually enabled by the unsettling quality of silence made uniquely perceptible, or rendered singly, in the ambivalent vision of photography. Consequently, the images here considered problematize and expand Jacques Rancière’s theorization of the aesthetic formation of politics by questioning what might be accomplished politically in the failure to represent, proposing the idea that imaging silence in the midst of turbulent noise might engender a political representation of a different order. Of primary interest to this argument are two works completed in 2009 (Pietro Masturzo’s 2009 World Press Photo of the Year, “From the Rooftops of Tehran, June”, and Shirin Neshat’s multimedia adaptations of the surrealist Farsi novella Women Without Men), each of which formalize the way in which the specific setting of the rooftop, as something we might call, following Michel Foucault, a “heterotopic” site, activates this relationship of (in)audibility and political representation.


Keywords


Photography; Gender; Iran; Rooftop; Rancière

References


Admadi, R. (2009, June 24). An Iranian revolution that’s not over yet. Forbes. Retrieved January 6, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/2009/06/24/iran-election-revolutionopinions-contributors-revolutionary-guard-coup.html.

Afary, J. (2005). Foucault and the Iranian revolution: Gender and the seductions of Islamism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Alsaif, T. (2007). Islamic democracy and its limits: The Iranian experience since 1979 (1st ed.). London: Saqi.

Attali, J. (1985). Noise: The political economy of music, theory and history of literature vol. 16. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Azoulay, A. (2008). The civil contract of photography. New York: Zone Books.

Bayat, A. (2010). Tehran: Paradox city. New Left Review, 66, 99-122.

Beckett, S. (1983). Worstward Ho. London: J. Calder.

Bhabha, H. (1994). The location of culture. London: Routledge.

Borger, J., & Black, I. (2009, June 14). Ahmadinejad accused of stealing poll as hardliners crack down in Tehran. The Guardian UK. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/14/iran-ahmadinejad-mousavi-elections-result.

Bresheeth, H. (2010). Shirin Neshat’s ‘Women Without Men’. Third Text, 24(6), 754-758.

Calvo, L., & Masturzo, P. (2010, November 23). Pietro Masturzo, photographer: ‘The media is only interested in the obsession for live news’. Veus CCCB: El Blog del Centre deCultura Contemporania de Barcelona. Retrieved from http://www.cccb.org/veus/

exposicions/espanol-pietro-masturzo-fotografo-%C2%ABel-interes-de-los-medios-seconcentra-en-la-%E2%80%9Cobsesion-del-directo%E2%80%9D%C2%BB/?lang=en.

Camhi, L. (2000). Lifting the Veil. Art News, 99(2), 148-151.

Celik, Z. (2009). A lingering obsession: The houses of Algiers in French colonial discourse. In Z. Celik, J.

Clancy-Smith, & F. Terpak (Eds.), Walls of Algiers: Narratives of the city through text and image(pp. 134-160). Los Angeles: The Getty Research Center.

Connor, S. (2004). Edison’s teeth: Touching hearing. In V. Erlmann (Ed.), Hearing cultures: Essays on sound, listening, and modernity (pp. 153-172). New York, NY: Berg.

Dabashi, H. (2009). The Discrete Charm of European Intellectuals. International Journal of Žižek Studies 3(4). Special Issue: Žižek and Iran. Retrieved from http://zizekstudies.org/index.php/ijzs/article/download/220/314.

Dahl, F., & Hafezi, P. (2009, June 30). Iran upholds Ahmadinejad victory, says matter closed. Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/06/29/idUSLT437642.

Erlmann, V. (2004). But what of the ethnographic ear? Anthropology, sound, and the senses. In V.

Erlmann (Ed.), Hearing cultures: Essays on sound, listening, and modernity. New York, NY: Berg.

Felman, S., & Laub, D. (1992). Testimony: Crises of witnessing in literature, psychoanalysis, and history. New York: Routledge.

Fletcher, M. (2009). ‘Wailing of wolves’ in Iran as cries of Allahu akbar ring from roofs. The Times (London). Retrieved from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/

article6572101.ece.

Foucault, M. (1984, October). Des Espaces Autres/Of Other Spaces: Heterotopias (1967). Architecture/Mouvement/ Continuité. Retrieved from http://foucault.info/documents/heteroTopia/foucault.

heteroTopia.en.html.

George, M. (2009, June 21). Reporters’ log: Iran’s upheaval. BBC. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8105207.stm.

‘Get Rid of the Shah’ was the Cry Throughout the Country (MERIP Reports, No. 75/76, Iran in

Revolution (Mar. - Apr., 1979).

Grigor, T. (2009). Building Iran: Modernism, architecture, and national heritage under the Pahlavi monarchs (1st ed.). New York: Periscope Publishing.

Grigor, T.. (2006). Ladies last! perverse spaces in a time of orthodoxy. Thresholds 32, 53-56.

Hariman, R., & Lucaites, J. (2007). No caption needed: Iconic photographs, public culture, and liberal democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Harris, K. Personal communications with the author. January-April 2011.

Honarbin-Holliday, M. (2008). Becoming visible in Iran: Women in contemporary Iranian society. London: Tauris.

Iran: The Rooftop Project. Mightier Than. Retrieved from http://www.mightierthan.com/2009/07/rooftop/.

Lesbet, D. (1985). La Casbah d’Alger: Gestion urbaine et vide social. Alger; France: Office des publications universitaires; Talence.

MacDonald, S., & Neshat, S. (2004). Between two worlds: An interview with Shirin Neshat. Feminist Studies, 30(3), 620-659.

Mahoney, E. (2010, September 23). Radio review: World stories - Revolutions In Iran. The Guardian

UK. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and radio/2010/sep/23/world-storiesrevolutions-

in-iran.

Mahr, K. (n.d.). Neda Agha-Soltan - The Top 10 Everything of 2009. Time. Retrieved from http://www. time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1945379_1944701_1944705,00.html.

Martin, V. (n.d.). Women and popular protest: Women’s demonstrations in nineteenth-century Iran. In S. Cronin (Ed.), Subalterns and social protest: History from below in the Middle East and North Africa (pp. 50-66). London; New York: Routledge.

Miller, T. (1998). Technologies of truth: Cultural citizenship and the popular media. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Mir-Hosseini, Z. (2010). The conservative-reformist conflict over women’s rights in Iran. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 16(1), 37-53.

Moghadam, V.M. (2000). Hidden from history? Women workers in modern Iran. Iranian Studies, 33(3),

-401.

Morozov, E. (2009, June 17). Iran elections: A twitter revolution? The Washington Post. Retrieved from

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/06/17/DI2009061702232.html.

Negar M. (2008). Representing the unpresentable: Historical images of national reform from the

qajars to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Navab, A.D. (2007). Unsaying life stories: The self-representational art of Shirin Neshat and Ghazel.

The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 41(2), 39-66.

Neshat, S., & Azari, S. (Producer & Director). (2009). Women Without Men [Film].

Pārsī’pūr, S. (1998). Women Without Men: A Novella (1st ed.). Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press.

Ramazani, N. (1993). Women in Iran: The revolutionary ebb and flow. Middle East Journal, 47(3), 409-

Rancière, J. (2006) The distribution of the sensible. In The Politics of Aesthetics. London, New York:

Continuum. internal-pdf://Ranciere - The Politics of Aesthetics - The Distribution of the Sensible

OCR-1472816896/Ranciere - The Politics of aesthetics - The Distribution of the Sensible OCR.

pdf.

Rancière, J. (2002). Outer and inner space: Piplotti Rist, Shirin Neshat, Jane & Louise Wilson and the

History of Video Art. Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Rancière, J. (1999). Dis-agreement: Politics and philosophy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota

Press. Retrieved from internal-pdf://RanciereDisagreement-0281637632/RanciereDisagreement.

pdf.

Satrapi, M. (2005). Embroideries (1st ed.). New York: Pantheon Books.

Siamdoust, N. (2009, May 20). A woman as president: Iran’s impossible dream? Time. Retrieved from

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1899763,00.html.

Thompson, K. (2009). The sound of light: Reflections on art history in the visual culture of hip-hop.

Art Bulletin, XCI, 4.

Touffic, J. (2009). The withdrawal of tradition past a surpassing disaster. Forthcoming Books.

Tual, A. (1986). Speech and silence: Women in Iran. In L. Dube, E. Burke Leacock, & S. Ardener (Eds.),

Visibility and power: Essays on women in society and development (pp. 54-69). Delhi: Oxford

University Press.

Wallach, A. (2006). Missed signals: Nuance and the reading of immigrant art. American Art, 20(2), 126-

Winegar, J. (2008). The humanity game: Art, Islam, and the war on terror. Anthropological Quarterly

(3), 651-681.

“World Press Photo,” February 12, 2010. http://www.worldpressphoto.org/index.php?option=com_

content&task=view&id=1789.

Wright, R. (2000). Iran’s new revolution. Foreign Affairs, 79(1), 133-45.


Full Text: PDF

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN: 0259-9953

Contact: al-raida@lau.edu.lb
This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
Creative Commons License
Site developed by eScienta.com

  • Powered By OJS