Sara Rajaei: «The continuous ends connected to the beginnings»

3,14,3.14 - Evening program 09.03.2012 00.0006.05.2012 00.00


Screening programmet har en varighet på 35 minutter og viser fem av hennes arbeider:

  • Charismatic fates & vanishing dates, 2006. 3´20“
  • A day of amnesia, 2004. 5´30”
  • Forever for a while, 2009. 7´
  • A leap year that started on a Friday, 2010. 6´
  • Since we’ve moved here, 2007. 10´

Et eget kveldsprogram den 22. mars vil presentere ytterligere to av hennes arbeider:

  • Objects of purely sentimental value, 2010. 17’
  • Shahrzad, 2009. 25’


The continuous ends connected to the beginnings

by Trond Lossius

In the book “Language of New Media” (2001) Lev Manovich suggested a shift in form from old to new media. While the novel and subsequently cinema privileged the linear narrative, the database has become the predominant organizing form within new media. Since this book was published, “archive” has become a more established term than the more technically inclined “database”.

The linear narrative presents events in a fixed sequential cause-and-effect order. In contrast “many new media objects do not tell stories; they don’t have beginning or end; in fact, they don’t have any development, thematically, formally or otherwise which would organize their elements into a sequence. Instead, they are collections of individual items, where every item has the same significance as any other.” These items may be accessed in any arbitrary order.

The works by Sara Rajaei simultaneously seem to draw on both of these organizing principles. Her works tell stories, and two of her works, “Shahrzad” (2009) and “A leap year that started on a Friday” (2010) have references to the storyteller Scheherazade, but her stories do not unfold in a linear fashion. Instead past and present seem to co-exist. Collections are important to several of her works; (re)collections of family photos, memories, domestic environments, family and friends, or art works.

Her work draws on photo, film, storytelling and poetry, and the music and sound design, often a contribution of Milan Gataric, is important to the haunting musical timing and flow of the works. The music and the use of narrator(s) place the spectator at a distance to the scenes unfolding. This is enhanced by the camera movements through the scenes.

Her works can be read as four-dimensional sculptures, and the camera is an eye that moves seamlessly through time with the same ease that it moves through space. This poetics of navigation through space is again, according to Manovich, a common quality of new media art, a quality shared with the database. The items of an archive can be accessed in any order, and conceptualized or visualized as being laid out in space, a space that can be traversed in any direction. Within this form narrative and time itself are equated with the movement through 3D space, the progression through rooms, levels, or words.

The archives and databased discussed by Manovich at times seem fragmented, made up of singular items shattered in space. In contrast, in Sara Rajaeis work, stories and archives seem to merge, becoming holistic entities intimately connected to the shaping and defining of the identities and stories of the persons portrayed.


Sara Rajaei er født i Abadan, Iran i 1976. Siden 1998 har hun holdt til i den Haag i Nederland. Rajaei begynte å studere ved University of the Arts in Tehran i 1996, og fortsatte ved Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten i den Haag fra 1998 til 2002 med spesialisering innen 3D kunst. Hun var også gjestekunstner ved Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, fra 2004. Siden 2004 har hennes arbeider, som omfatter installasjoner, performance og video, vært vist på festivaler og utstillinger internasjonalt. Hun vant Prix de Rome, basic prixe, i 2009.

I 2007 deltok Sara Rajaei i screening-programmet At Home in Europe, som var del av et EU Culture 2000 prosjekt i samarbeid mellom ISIS Arts (Newcastle), BEK, RIXC (Riga) og Interspace (Sofia).