Nooshin Farhid, video artist, whose solo show Shallow Water, Deep Skin is now running at East London’s The Agency Gallery discusses her work and process with us back in 2008. Over the years Farhid has co-curated a number of exhibitions including “Use this Kind of Sky” and has exhibited the world over gathering together a considerable body of work and lengthy resumé.
Farhid’s videos employ different subjects and scenarios that thread together with a connecting sense of agitation and grit. We discuss her interests and how Fahid’s ideas form which interestingly harks back to her own experiences as an immigrant settling in the UK. The unwillingness to settle for what is on offer, something that is evident in all her work, reflects Farhid’s views on the current state of society, politics and ideology. Though not overtly political, (for this inevitably enables privileged authority to manipulate the artist into the cul de sac of irrelevance), her work picks away at those daily familiar stabilising forces within the space of the everyday and also within contemporary art itself.
Farhid’s work, eclectic and conceptually nomadic, uses the camera as a notebook collecting fragments of random events and chance meetings that collectively question the incessant drive towards normality and conformity. Farhid appropriates other ‘dumbing’ forms of popular media: soaps, reality TV, Bollywood, MTV, raw material welded together in fragments, each one activating and qualifying its predecessor. This process produces a contemporary surreal space that re-presents the familiar in that which is astonishing and invites the viewer to reconsider. In her most recent work Shallow Water, Deep Skin, featuring political activist and entomologist Shahin Nawai in ‘Shallow Water, Deep Skin’ Farhid reaches the apex of her observations of the human disconnect by melding together the swarming world of nature and human kinds’ own busy, teeming concerns.
Most of all, Farhid turns out to be a quirky and humorous talent, who works as both artist and curator, resident and outsider. This interview was first broadcast from the ResonanceFM studios in 2008.