Bunte Kuh, 6 min, 2015
Through a flood of images and impressions, a narrator attempts to recall a family holiday. Shot in Berlin and Toronto, Bunte Kuh combines a found postcard, a family photo album, and original footage to weave together the temporal presence of two separate vacations.
Heart of a Mountain, 15 min, 2017
“The word island is a bird inside of a mountain,” explains the hand. A photograph of a volcanic stone slice from the east coast of Taiwan, famous for its landscape-like patterns created by minerals and geological pressure; a snapshot of a “Capitoline Wolf” replica sculpture, a symbolic gift from an Italian ambassador to Chiang Kai-shek after he fled Mainland China for the island of Taiwan; Heart of a Mountain forms in the area between these objects whose stories are encoded as images. Technologies of translation form sentences that reach towards understanding, guiding a film that binds together human history and geological time in the obscure space that separates languages.
Chooka, 21 min, 2018
In 1973, the Shah of Iran commissioned the construction of a paper factory in the lush northern province of Gilan. Foreign engineers from Canada and the United States were brought to develop and run the facility, bringing with them their families as well as a species of pine tree previously unknown to the region. Their stay, however, came to a sudden halt in 1979 with the Iranian revolution forcing them to flee the site overnight.
Chooka unfolds between the site of this factory and a rural family house located in a nearby village. Coinciding with the construction of the factory, this family hosted the production of Bahram Beyzaie’s film, The Stranger and The Fog. Shot in the same village, the film begins when an unconscious stranger drifts ashore in a small boat. After the revolution, Beyzaie returned to the same house to produce his film Bashu, The Little Stranger, about a young war refugee who escapes the south and ends up alone in a small northern village.
Returning to this landscape 40 years later, we meet the family again. It is summer and the grandfather of the family who hosted Beyzaie has passed away. His adult son is working at the paper factory while his grandson, between English classes, shows us the secret corners of his family’s house. Mediated through screens and photography, Chooka weaves original material with elements of archival documentary footage and fragments of Beyzaie’s cinema to explore the entangled relationship between a stranger and a host, a factory and a village, a film crew and a family, foreign trees and a landscape.
Over the last five years, the Toronto-based trio of Faraz Anoushahpour, Parastoo Anoushahpour, and Ryan Ferko has brought their diasporic experiences to bear on a series of unique and fascinating projects for both the gallery and the cinema. Foregrounding place as a central aspect of their practice, the artists present location — whether it be Berlin, Taipei, Belgrade, Windsor, a village in Iran, or Cathedraltown in Markham — as cipher, and their work seeks to both decode these surroundings and trouble the image through speculative narration and dialectical imagery, which often oscillates between archival material and evocative location shooting. – Chris Kennedy