Googoosh, a popular and loved Iranian-Azerbaijani singer, performs a version of the song Ayrılıq – Separation. The performance is from a 1970s television show and it has been copied several times from one videotape to another. Ayrılıq could be a love song but it is told that composer Ali Salimi (who fled from Soviet Azerbaijan to Iran and left many of his loved ones behind) wanted to make music about his sense of longing.
I was searching for another song when I found this performance on YouTube. I could watch the video again and again and try to get a deeper understanding of it. I could use the performance as a mirror for the part in me that is of Iranian and Azeri origin. I could compare my sense of longing with the degraded video image and the lyrics of the song. And in my eyes the found video grew into a monument of distance – a presentation of disconnection, images, memory and mixed identification.
The sound design for the video piece is by Johannes Vartola. Visek has supported the production of the art work.
Azar Saiyar is Helsinki-based filmmaker and visual artist. She often uses archive materials and plays with images and words of collective memory to look towards ways of looking, speaking, remembering and telling stories. She also does collaborative works with other artists. Saiyar’s films have been screened at international film and media art festivals, galleries, exhibitions, museums and on television.