Babak & Nasrin Afrassiabi Sefid Dasthi & Tabatabai

audiovisueel - installatie

The artists Babak Afrassiabi and Nasrin Tabatabai have collaborated since 2004 on various joint projects, developed through such mediums as video, text and objects. They also publish a bilingual (Farsi and English) magazine called Pages which is edited parallel to the ongoing topical lines of their projects. Issue 10 of the magazine, Inhale was printed and published recently. In 2018 they launched Pages' online platform ( which expands on the magazine’s editorial focus. They often extend their work from unresolved historical narratives that demand for forms of approach that are materially, temporally and aesthetically undecidable. Their recent projects are concerned with making speculative junctures between history, archive, technology and the practice of art. Their works have been exhibited regularly in Solo and group exhibitions internationally. 

Inhale, solo presentaion, Antoni Tapies Foundation, Barcelona, Spain, 2021 - (Text, Sound, Object) This work is a new installation that is the combination of texts from the project Inhale and sounds produced in the Labour Lung project. Also includes new sculptural elements. (Descriptions of both projects are in the portfolio)
Labour Lung, Sound Installation, Solo Exhibition, Cube project Space, Taipei, Taiwan, 2021 - Labour Lung is part of an on-going series of works which is developing since 2017. These works reimagine the contemporary boundaries between drugs, writing and technology, especially in light of the accelerating adaptation of almost all aspects of our metabolic and cognitive life by various digital technologies. Labour Lung is a computer-run audio installation that simulates the changing breath sounds of a lung affected by the continuous inhalation of opium. In this work opium smoke is itself taken as a technological substance inspiring sonic mutations in the airways, which is historically traceable to the toxic machinery of colonial opium trades but also to practices that machinate other forms of adopting the smoke. As an audio installation, this work incorporates biomedical acoustic modelling used in medicine and consists mainly of a wire-less network of computers which together perform—on a probability principle—the real-time effects of the opium smoke aerosols on the air ways. Every breath cycle is a progression of carbon dust deposition in the lung resulting in the blockage of the air tubes and a slow alteration of breath sounds. Here, the labour of the lung is a labour of duration, in which the lung is pulled across the endless probability of its wheezes and crackles.
Inhale, Pages Magazine issue 10, 2020 - This issue is inspired by opium smoke as a historical substance that forges a relationship between intoxication, politics and writing. By rethinking the conceptual and material consequences of this relationship, the richly diverse contributions in this issue set forth new limits in our chemical, historical and technological relationships to the contemporary world.
Screenshot from Pages online platform, launched 2018 ( - In 2015 we started to work on an experimental online publishing and archiving platform. It was with this idea of publishing as permeable archiving that we initiated this platform. It is an online expansion of Pages' print issues ( Launched in 2018, the platform is a working space developed as a response to the practice and politics of publishing with regard to the current online technologies. Besides its bilingual content (Farsi-English), what constitutes this online platform is the structures it deploys to produce and archive this content. It adopts an open structure where content can be added directly by (invited) authors while simultaneously extracted and distributed by the reader.
Inhale,10th Taipei Biennial, Taipei, Taiwan, 2017- on going - This project recollects the smoke of opium in Iranian fictions. It indexes, in the form of written accounts, the instances of opium use in modern and contemporary novels and short stories. This growing archive traces the opium as it is inhaled by the different persona and in the different historical times depicted in these narratives. In the first iteration of Inhale, the archive of opium fictions is accompanied by a series of animations that were partly developed using computational fluid dynamic technology.
Seep, installation view, Art Jameel, Dubai, UAE, 2018 - Seep (2013-2018) The installation Seep is part of an ongoing series of works that references the western modern art collection of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (a large collection which was put together and inaugurated in 1978 ) and the early archive of the British Petroleum’s history in Iran.(1901 to 1951) when it found the first oil in the Middle East and built the modern industrial city and world’s biggest oil refinery in south-west Iran. The installation contains 2 videos, Objects, model, prints, texts.
Seep, Pages magazine issue 9, 2013 - This issue of the magazine follows the idea of the seepage as a metaphor for a post-archival relation to history. The biology or politics of seeping is like that of raw petroleum oozing at natural oil seeps. Unlike refined oil which has sponsored modernization and its aligned archives, crude oil pours beyond historical purpose and defies structural archiving–it instead disfigures the ground through which it dubiously spreads. In this issue several authors were invited to respond to art-works from the western modern art collection in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Parallel to this, others were invited to contribute around the theme of oil. These were accompanied by archival materials.
Plate it with Silver, Video, single channel, 34 min, 2015 - Co-commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation, SB12, 2015 Plate It With Silver is a film set along the northern and southern shores of the Strait of Hormuz referencing peripheral relations to the waters from minor economic ventures like smuggling to a possession cult practices throughout the region. While in the first the relationship between body and geography is exercised along the margins of the global market, the possession cult exceeds this relationship to a more immaterial plane. In this cult, the bodies are believed to become possessed by ‘winds,’ another name for the imperceptible spirits. These winds are said to circulate between different parts of the region and across the seas from India and East Africa (the historic trade route). Central to the film is a long sequence at a silversmith’s workshop depicting the process of plating a rattan stick. In the possession rituals the rattan stick is used as a negotiating device between the body and the wind. The silver plating correspond to the demands the winds place on the possessed. Plate It With Silver reflects on aspects of bodily and material deterritorialization.
Thicker Than Paint Thinner, 2011 - Film by Babak Afrassiabi Based on a true story, this film is about Hossein, a former drug addict who had participated in setting fire to a cinema in Iran during the months leading the victory of the 1979 Islamic revolution, causing the death of nearly 400 people. The film is also about Seyyed, the protagonist in the movie that was being screened in the cinema during the incident: a drug addicts who becomes a revolutionary and dies in a gun battle with the police. While Seyyed succeeds in dying for his cause, Hossein is forsaken by the post-revolutionary establishment, even when he plea’s for his own punishment.
Satellite, As Long As It Is Aiming At The Sky, 2010 - Satellite, As Long As It Is Aiming At The Sky, is a 29 minutes video that is shot almost entirely inside the Los Angeles-based Iranian satellite television stations that broadcast live across continents including into homes of Iranians inside Iran. Initially exile televisions, these TVs mediate a satellite micro universe, a tele-visual fiction of extra-geographical ’locality’ that disintegrates at times of political crisis at ‘home.’ This video depicts the TV stations at such moment of media breakdown.