Map of the Absentees | نقشه غائبین by Bahar Majdzadeh
The ERC Off-Site project collaborated with the artist-researcher Bahar Majdzadeh in developing a website named Map of the Absentees. It is the transposition of a sound cartographic installation by Bahar Majdzadeh.
This project is part of a theoretically and practically grounded work that reflects a confrontation with a violent past—the one of Iran between 1979 and 1988. This socially and politically tumultuous period is situated between two decisive moments: the 1979 Revolution; and the massacre of the political prisoners in the summer of 1988. This period was also marked by an eight-year war between Iran and Iraq.
The absentees refer to the militants of different political currents who were involved in the revolution against the Shah, and who later opposed the new repressive Islamic regime. Consequently, in order to stay alive or to continue their political struggle, they had no choice but to leave their country. Scattered all around the world, fifteen political refugees whose exile originated in episodes of political violence that occurred between 1979 and 1988 have participated in the creation of this map. Each voice tells a memory of a specific place in Tehran and then broadcasted in precise locations indicated by the political exiles on an actual map of Tehran.
The Map of the Absentees, which is an open project, can be comprehended as a small act of resistance in the face of the map’s authoritarian power.
The map is built on a Heurist database, which hosts the participants’ interviews and provides the mapping and audio streaming services.
Coding : Michael Falk
Design : Studio Katrahmani
For further reading about this mapping:
“Memory map and the policy of space, Iran 1979-1988”: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03320883
“Topography of the absence of the Iranian political exiles”: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03320906
Bahar is an Artist-Researcher. After finishing a thesis in Arts (practice based-research) in 2019 at Panthéon-Sorbonne University, she is now working as a Temporary Lecturer and Research Assistant at Aix Marseille University. Her recent projects which include both practice and theory, focus on the public spaces when it comes to mass violence and the presence of the Other. Her sphere of artistic practice includes photography, sculpture and cartography.