Feb 10, 2012

Kish, An Island Indecisive By Design

  • Kish is an island in the Persian Gulf where the extremes in politics, ideology and urban design visibly intersect. The island’s modern history is defined by shifting politics in the Iranian mainland, making it a stage for outspoken experiments and conflicting interventions by politicians, investors, architects and planners.
  • Excerpt from the book
  • It was midnight, 25 July 1966. Misty and very humid. A ship had unloaded its cargo at Shahpour port and was heading for its homeland Greece. It drifted off course and was stranded just off the coast from the village Baghoo on the island of Kish– so close to shore in fact that it could have easily run aground on the island. One of the villagers once told me that for seven nights the ship’s lights lit up the coastline and nearby village, which in those days didn’t have electricity. Just a boy then, he brought melons to the ship’s crew in exchange for canned fruit. On the eighth night, the ship ran out of fuel, its lights dimming and finally going out. Much work was done to tow the ship back into deeper waters, it only moved a few centimetres.
  • Today the ship has completely rusted over. Every time I happen to stop by, it seems as if it has been pulled a little further into the gulf. But in reality it is the coastline that’s slowly wearing off into the sea. For 45 years the ship has stubbornly watched the island. Tourists come from all over Iran to view it silhouetted against the setting sun. With time it has merged with Kish’s tropical sunset. I believe that Kish’s modernity began at midnight on 25 July 1966 when the steamship stranded off its coast. The marooned ship prophesied what would become Kish’s awry odyssey along the map of the modern world.

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