When 21-year old Mahdi Bahrami took the stage at this year’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop, the audience was entranced by his game Engare. Projected onto a large screen to a crowd of hundreds of people, Bahrami showed solutions to his geometric, ancient Iranian art-influenced puzzle game. “So you have an object on a table,” he said to the audience, pointing to a screen where a rectangle sat on the edge of a desk. “Now if you draw a point somewhere on that object, what kind of line would it make if it fell?” He placed a dot on the corner of the rectangle. He hit “play.” The rectangle tumbled off the table, leaving behind a squiggly line.
Speaking last year, Aaron Sorkin said that writing the forthcoming Steve Jobs biopic was like “writing about The Beatles” – an arduous task with numerous minefields if he were to avoid disappointing the droves who still adore and revere the late Apple boss. Daunting Sorkin’s screenplay may have been, but it’s nothing compared to the task the acclaimed Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat has on her hands.
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Filmed through a door’s glass panels, a young woman speaks in Arabic. “A civilization that proves incapable of solving the problems it creates is a decadent civilization,” read the subtitles. “A civilization that chooses to close its eyes to its most crucial problems is a stricken civilization. A civilization that uses its principles for trickery and deceit is a dying civilization.” The woman appears to be musing on the world’s current state of affairs; perhaps she’s being filmed in Europe, or in North Africa.
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