Architectures of Hiding

Anahita Norouzi

A Space In-Between

In this lecture-performance, I create a rewriting of history in the form of a series of speculative events that are rooted in political incidents that affected my family. Here, I go back in time to explore the link between architecture, memory, and history, focusing on the institutions—school, hospital, and prison—through which the state imprints power on or actually destroys bodies to eradicate memory and control the writing of History. Likening the institutionalized hiding and suppression of history with the internalized process of memory repression, I use the power of my own writing on the historical events and the power of photographs to invoke memory.

Beginning with a discussion on Berlin’s 1942 Sachsenhausen concentration camp, the narrative then moves to the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal, a reference to the government psychological experiments conducted on citizens during the Cold War period in the 1950’s. The story concludes in Tehran’s Towhid Prison, where my father was interrogated and tortured as a political prisoner in 1979.

Here, text, images, videos, and photographs are layered and interwoven to create an unstable narrative to be deciphered by the viewer and elaborated upon during a performance by myself. Influenced by states of crisis and ‘split-identities,’ the time and space constantly move back and forward between past and present/here and there.

Keywords: body, power, architecture of forgetting

ANAHITA NOROUZI is originally from Iran and lives in Montreal. Her interdisciplinary practice spans from spatial installations to sculpture, photo, and video-based works. She holds degrees in Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montreal. For the past ten years, she has traveled between Iran and Canada to conduct her research, which examines questions of migration, memory and identity from a psycho-historical point of view. Norouzi has taken part in several individual and collective exhibitions internationally. She was a finalist for the Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize for pieces shown at the Royal College of Art in London and in Dubai and is currently working on her solo show that will be presented in 2021.

See the A Space In-Between exhibit →