The installation Seep is a followup to Two Archives in that it also references the western modern art collection of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and the early archive of the British Petroleum’s history in Iran.
Seep re-integrates two objects related to the two above archives. One is the last documentary film (Persian Stroy) made by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1951 when forced to shut down the oil company and evacuate its premises in south-west Iran. Here, a letter written by the film’s commissioned director to the oil company, in which he complains about the “unfilmability” of the film’s subjects, is appropriated into a short video inside a set of prop-sculptures. The other object is the architecture of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, which is represented through a scale model, depicting only the museum’s passages and ramps leading down to the underground storage of the museum's collection.
What is implicitly traced between the two archives in this installation is oil seep itself. A short video records our walk through the actual ’site’ of the BP archive (or where the archive was produced) in south-west Iran. A recurring image is of a natural oil seepages encountered during the walk.
The notion of the archive that is proposed in Seep is analogous to the oozing of crude oil at this seepage which we unexpectedly encountered between the mountains in south-west Iran: black tar pouring out from between the rocks and under our feet, and entering into the nearby river, perhaps since eternity. This is literary a post-archival seeping that defies stratification, eats away at the ground and pours (unlike refined oil) beyond historical purpose. With the parallel re-reading of these two archival sites, the installation Seep imagines a geopolitics of a contemporary art that evolves from a subtractive and dispossessing (rather than accumulative and culminating) relation to the archive.