December 16, 2011
888 DUPONT ST., UNIT 111
Combining film, dance, and architecture, Raha Shirazi and Raja Moussaoui’s Intersections provides an immersive viewing experience. A projected image of a Middle Eastern bazaar greets the audience, beckoning them into the installation. To the right, an arched entryway, echoing the bazaar’s architecture, leads into tent-like structure. The white canvas walls serve as a screen for the artist’s family videos from Iran and Lebanon as well as for news clips—footage of war. Loud blasts punctuate the soundtrack of a wedding celebration and a mother clapping along to a child’s dance.
Dancers add another layer to the piece. The audience first glimpses them as shadows moving inside the canvas walls. Then they emerge and fill the space, their movements picking up some elements from the films, though not restricted by them. The performance is improvised, the dancers reacting to each other and weaving around audience members to get to different areas of the installation.
At the end of the passageway, the tent opens up into the corner of the room, creating a triangular space on either side where two very different images are projected. One is a typical Canadian landscape: a quiet lake at the foot of a mountain. A definite contrast to the images inside the tent, this final picture underscores the distance the artist has traveled and the displacement this work struggles to negotiate.