The story of the tower of Babel happened in a time when humankind had just one language and just one place to live freely without boundaries; a united humanity of the generations. The Lord concerned that humankind could have too much power and freedom, punished them for their pride by multiplying their languages so that they could not be able to understand one another.
Babel Tower is an interactive installation that recontextualizes the spiritual architecture of the Babel Tower with modern materials, creating a union between ancient history and our present world; it is combing the past, present and offering a union for future.
The top view of installation by reflecting the sky is connecting it to the earth, symbolizing the aim of Babel tower to reach for the heaven; The structural use of mirrors, serve as a reflective vessel for light, an integral feature of paradise.
When installed in a city location it reacts with different animation patterns to the audience interaction, when placed in a natural environment its movement are changing depending on the weather conditions. This interactive installation is giving a transformative image of the world by decomposing it into parts and recomposing it into a new union.
In this installation human is having a dialogue with city and nature to become one. This installation simply within a movement of human is changing the image of the nature and is gathering the view of the entire world in one piece.
In this installation I have been inspired by the pyramidal structure of Ziggurat, a common form of temple in ancient Mesopotamia, attempting to connect earth and sky, so humans could be nearer to god.
The Mirrored Ziggurat acts as a staircase, which seeks to connect nature with human beings and to create union of ancient history and today’s world. This installation offers a transformative view of the self.
The Mirrored Ziggurat has seven levels that represent seven heavens. For me, mirrors amplify this paradise, giving light; an important mystical concept in Persian Culture, and a medium creating an optical illusion.
August 2015 / Australia / Sydney / Underbelly Arts Festival
In Evocation, I tackle one of the formidable problems with desert dwelling: the lack of water. Exhibited in Iran Central Desert in 2013, this land art installation utilizes the reflective power of mirrors to bring quenching blue pools of “water” to the sand.
It is the ultimate mirage in the desert. At first glance, the mirrored circles, partially covered in the golden sand, appear to be small ponds. Only after a moment do we realize that it is actually the sky, reflected across the dunes. By altering our perception of nature and offering us a false narrative, I challenge the relationship between the human mind and the fundamental elements of nature.
May 2013 / Iran / Isfahan / Central desert
Heaven on Earth
One of the first uses of mirrors in architecture was in Persepolis, Persia at the Tachara Palace. Glossy black stones were polished till their surface was reflective, expanding the palace’s size and beauty. 2,000 years later, I return to the concept of doubling space and light with Heaven on Earth, an installation project that was showcased in Italy in 2014.
The basic geometric shapes and symmetrical composition of the mirrors angling up the cement stairs are borrowed from Islamic art, where symmetry is considered the highest form of beauty. For me, the use of mirrors is integral to creating a paradise; mirrors give light, an important mystical concept in Persian culture.
Standing in front of the staircase, the audience is facing a transformative view of themselves, and their notion of how the world is structured. When the audience stands at the top of the stairs and looks down, they come face to face with an optical illusion that increases their light, and therefore their spirituality of the space. The very physics of nature are turned on their head- the sky is now the ground- and the light of the sun is magnified around the viewer. The blue sky spills onto the ground, mimicking a pool, and the audience is momentarily overcome with the desire to jump into the light.
June 2014 / Italy / Treviso / Fabrica
Is nature aware of its own beauty? The question came to me after reading the mythological story of Narcissus and spending time in the desert, which to me, represents purity. Humans are able to see the exquisiteness of nature with their own eyes; I wanted to alter the perspective so that the desert could witness its own beauty.
In Narcissus, I used round mirrors and basic geometric shapes to create reflections of nature across the desert. The use of simple shapes was intentional; these mimic the forms commonly found in nature. For the viewer, the beauty of nature is ultimately doubled; we are, as always, the lucky recipients. This land art installation was exhibited in Iran Central Desert, 2013.
May 2013 / Iran / Isfahan / Central desert
One Belt One Road Visual Arts Exhibition , organized by The Hong Kong Federation of Women in Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery.
The ancient Silk Road has left a precious legacy of arts and culture. Curated by Pansy Ho, this exhibition unites the voices of today’s women who trace their own heritage to this region and reconnect to its history through contemporary art practice. Embracing the spirit of the Belt and Road Initiative, the exhibition reawakens the diversity of culture, language and art through the eyes of women throughout history, today and for our future.
Between 1980-1988, the Iran-Iraq war killed half a million soldiers and nearly as many civilians. This war, like all others, created divisions along the fault lines of religion and politics. I was most interested in transcending these divides by focusing on the individuals who succumbed to death. Exhibited in the city of Ahwaz in Iran, 2012, Eight Paradise is a living, metamorphosing memory of the lives lost.
The installation included eight metal stands, representing each year of the war. Each stand held a personal object of a martyr, such as a rosary, a book, or an ascot, encased in an ice cube. The objects were intentionally chosen as a material representation of the person’s soul. Under the hot southern sun, the ice slowly melted, the drops collecting in a bowl at the bottom of the stand. It made the sound of rain.
In death, the soul leaves the body and we become a spirit; we are transformed from one element to another. Water, in its solid form, is ice; as it melts it returns to its liquid nature. To me, the death of these individual martyrs did not represent the loss of a physical body, but rather the transition into spirit. In Eight Paradise, I was able to manipulate the audience’s remembrance of death by focusing on the transformative nature of life.
October 2013 / Iran / Ahwaz / Museum of Contemporary Art
Emigration throughout the 20th century and beyond caused Castrignano to experience an exodus of its citizens toward Northern Italy and the rest of Europe. In the same period, a first wave of migrants from Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe settled down in the community, bringing new traditions and customs.
An Iranian artist documented the changing urban scenario in this 2014 film. Six doors of the city center are overlaid with words, noises and silences gathered during everyday life in the center of Salento. Many houses are empty and the voices of the former inhabitants are missing.
But new accents and dialects are on the threshold of Castrignano’s houses, contributing to a new urban geography of the town.
July 2014 / Italy / Castrignano de' Greci / Museo Etnografico dei Passati e dei Futuri/ XYlab
Sara was a girl from a village in Azerbaijan, Iran. She was such a beauty that nobody could take their eyes of her. Sara fell in love with a man called Shepherd Khan, whom she use to meet beside the Arpa river. One day Khan went to work outside the village. A man named Beig came and took Sara by force. Thus she gave her body and soul to the Arpa river. Ever since then, her soul is flowing in all the rivers in the world.
March 2013 / Spain / Murcia / IBAFF Festival
This was an interactive happening performance, which asked audience to pour boiled water on me. It was a psychological test for resistance, which showed the people's reactions who faced with it.
March 2013 / Spain / Murcia / IBAFF Festival
An interactive performance which represented sense of silence and repose which was very strange and useful experience for purification in calm space with an attention to one of the vital and fundamental elements of nature, 'fire', which is noteworthy in Iranian Mythology.
March 2013 / Iran / Tehran / East Gallery
1s White 1s Black
A video-installation for the memorial of the two atomic attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
August 2012 / Iran / Tehran / Tehran Peace Museum
A sound performance showing how a traditional mosque can save and make human sounds echo back to audience. This was the first time that a woman dares to sing a song in public place in Iran, especially in the famous Imam Mosque.
May 2013 / Iran / Isfahan / Imam Mosque
A performance which was a reference to symbolic signification and semiological phallic senses in order to show a reaction to masculine powers in societies which suppress women.
September 2012 / Turkey / Istanbul / Taksim
Runway in Subway
An interactive performance, in which I asked passengers to give their worthless stuff and to attach them to my clothes as a memento. The project shows the people's cultural values and it represents their favorites and wishes. Furthermore, it can be launched in other locations and countries.
May 2011 / Iran / Tehran / Subway
November 2012 / India / Mumbai / Railway
A performance and a photo video art project which represents psychotherapeutic conditions in Iran and criticized some kind of pharmacological treatments.
February 2012 / Iran / Tehran / Kabk Gallery
Conceptual Art & Fashion Book
In March 2014, Shirin was selected for a one-year scholarship with United Colors of Benetton’s Fabrica research center. During her time in Italy, Shirin worked in Fabrica’s Editorial Department, and published an original book "Fashion & Conceptual Art" in 2016 (Nazar Art Publication).