The artist duo Nielsen & Altheimer was originally part of the group around Das Beckwerk. At the end of 2006 Nielsen & Altheimer were chosen and sent of as delegated to complete the enormous Democracy project with the implementation of the Democracy in Iran. On their way they broke off with Das Beckwerk and its idealistic, utopian and relational work that so far had characterised the Democracy Project. Instead they turned back to a distinct European decadency, where the representative from the third world wasn’t participating in any relational creative relationship to the artists or the art work, but only as actors or props in the European performance about the world and "the revolution". A performance that tries to revive the era of the European Empire and the superior colony power.
The video art work series from 2006-07 called Colonizing Iran! shows numbers of strategies for a new Iranian revolution with "universal" European means as alcohol, soccer, symbolic occupation, seduction and revolution romance. Unlike Das Beckwerk and the Democracy Project distinct relational aesthetic, where the borderline between the art work and the world is undefined or completely vanished for the advantage of a permanent state of emergency, where nothing is decided beforehand and where no one has stabile identities, but where every single art work or living being on the contrary are dependent of everything else in a confused, undecided and uninterrupted growing network, stands Nielsen & Altheimer’s work of art on the contrary as direct market orientated: A series of autonomous art works, which can stand alone and be enjoyed one by one independent of each other.
Nielsen & Altheimer are located in London and are connected to institutions as London Consortium and Goldsmiths College.
COLONIZING IRAN! - PART 1
REVOLUTION SQUARE, TEHRAN
23 NOVEMBER 2006, 7:06 PM
The Europeans entered Iran from the south, crossing the Hormuz Street with their box "Mission Iran" (written in Chinese in order not to be held back at the Iranian borders). On their way up through Iran they carried different kinds of explosives in the box: alcohol, football, flyers, dance music, dollars and the Flag of The New.
At the arrival in Tehran they headed for Enghelob Square, Revolution Square. This square - surrounded by all kinds of police - plays a major role in Iranian revolutionary history. And since the revolution in 1979 the almost holy centre with the monument bathed in shia-green light has never been touched by any foreign powers. The Europeans wanted to enter the centre with their box and bring out the Flag of The New. In order to document the historical moment they found two young Iranian film students who were willing to take the risk of secretly filming the European intervention. But in the last moment before "action" the Iranians backed out: - This flag is very dangerous, for us and for you! they said. And so the Europeans promised not to bring out the flag.
COLONIZING IRAN! PART 3
- the revolutionary cell -
At their arrival in Tehran the two Europeans moved into a flat in the North Western part of the city. During the following days a leaflet was spread through the Internet to the underground scene of the capital. Meanwhile on the ground two young students from Yazd, whom the Europeans had brought with them from the provincial city of Yazd travelled trough the million city from university to university handing out the leaflet to as many vulnerable students as possible.
COLONIZING IRAN! - PART 5
THE ARRANGED MARRIAGE
The beautiful 23 year-old twins Elham and Elaheh were born and raised with their older sister in an upper middle class family of strong Muslim believers in the famous Iranian city Esfahan. Shortly after their birth they were promised away to their two older cousins.
To day they are living as boarding students at the university of the religious city Qom, home of the mullahs. They spend six days a week in tight black chadors, and only once a week they are able to escape out into modernity. They know that as soon as they graduate from the university the arranged marriage will have to take place, and so they are desperately looking for a way to escape their destiny as wives of the two farmer-cousins way out in the Iranian province.
And then one day in late autumn 2006 two elegant Europeans arrive in Esfahan and meet the two beautiful twins. Their mission is to make revolution, not love, but the two twins are an offer they cant refuse. They decide to use the girls in an attempt to revolutionize the Iranian tradition from the inside. They decide to make an arranged marriage, but in a European non-believers way.
Part 7: KICKING IRAN!
COLONIZING IRAN! - PART 10
a self portrait
made by the secret police of the Islamic Republic of Iran
The Europeans wrote a letter to the Iranian people and their president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They travelled around the world and one day in late 2006 they walked down Pastor Street towards the presidential palace in central Tehran to hand over the letter in person. To secure their place in world History they of course carried a video camera filming themselves as they walked down the deserted and highly guarded alley and of course they were stopped by the presidential security guard and their camera was taken.
And the rest of that day the Europeans were held back by the Iranian authorities while their recordings were looked through by the secret police. The Iranians wanted to delete the recordings, but they knew only one way to do it. So when, at the end of the day, the Europeans finally got back their camera, tape and freedom, instead of a recording of the most boring and deserted alley, they suddenly had a short documentary of the interior of the headquarters of the secret police in Tehran shot by the Iranian secret police themselves showing the state of the revolution: