Catharsis brings cutartists back home. They believe in the essential cathartic function of artworks in Iran and that is why they call themselves cutartists: artists who cut, which is what they do: cutting cardboards to create spaces where performance can happen. That’s the general idea. This general idea might go against art proper. And hence, the name of the group: /a:t/BrE, i.e. art with British pronunciation written in phonetics.

The group came out of a class Bavand Behpoor taught in Tehran. When the course was finished the students were invited to come together outside the institution to investigate the practical side of performance, which had received little attention in the class. The group was founded on the basis of certain agreements: firstly, we believe in the potentials of contemporary art. Secondly, all cutartists think it is possible to produce in Iran original and authentic ‘art’ in the proper sense of the word as long as they maintain a direct connection to their situation. Thirdly, they believe wit and joy are essential to being contemporary. Fourthly, they prefer ordinary people as audience, although they are not ordinary themselves. Fifthly, they give process priority over product and want their group to be art in itself. (Hence the name of the group.) Sixthly, they believe enjoying what you do is a must. Seventhly, bluh bluh, anybody can be an artist but not all ideas are worth performing. Eighthly, there is no reason to do personally what you can do collectively. Ninthly, art must be built. Tenthly, it is gorgeous to be a performer!

The musical performance took place at Parkingallery, Tehran, on 1st and 2nd of March 2012. Audience had to book in advance and buy tickets after the performance was finished. They would pay for the performance according to their satisfaction with what they heard.

Video: Hossein Hosseini

Presented by Performance Matters, a collaboration between Goldsmiths, University of London, University of Roehampton, and the Live Art Development Agency financially assisted by AHRC. Documentation by Christa Holka.

The following was read out by Augusto Corrieri on behalf of Bavand Behpoor and /a:t/BrE group, while wearing a cardboard box on his head, at Trashing Performance programme held at Toynbee Studios, London on 28 Oct. 2011. The videos cited in the text can be viewed using the the tab ‘video’ from the menu.

Augusto Corrieri Reading out Bavand Behpoor’s cutartistic text


These musical instruments where invented by cutartists for a performance on the back of a truck the images of which you see in another post. All instruments combine in one creating a large box which covers the audience.

The idea was to perform underground music over ground in a private space moving within public space! The audience where chosen from the street and they would listen to cardboard musical instruments played for them behind a truck. This happened on 26 Oct. 2011.

 This text was to be inclued in the bulletin of the festival but was excluded for unknown reasons!

On the Art of Recycling

What art and recycling share is a process through which artwork/trash is produced: a commodity freed from its initial function turning into something different: a burnt object. The difference is that such precedure is done consciously in art. By accommodating a meaning, the object receives a new identity and justifies its preservation and commerce. Art of Recycling is probably not an exact term for this, for, here, garbage refers not to its initial use as a consumed product. The re-use does not happen in a physical form, rather a meaning is annexed to the object. A new destiny is formed for the object through a subjective change in the producer and the consumer. Probably Re-Commodification is a better term: we here confront a subjective change giving the object utility.

You can access the pdf version of the report here.

The proposal was written by Hossein Hosseini and carried out with the help of Shaghayegh Ghasemi.

The idea behind the festival was to make artworks out of recycled material and was done in two sections: by locals and invited artists. /a:t/BrE participated in the second section. Artworks consisted of sculptures, readymades, installations and performances.

The concept behind our project was to create a cardboard museums comprising of cardboard kiosks placed in different locations through the site. The kiosks provided room for viewers and had filters making new readings of the artworks presented outside possible attracting attention from artworks to themselves.

Kiosk No. 1:

It had three filters engaging with three artworks at the same time.

a) Chromatic filter: with the help of coloured glasses the colours of part of an installation was filtered.

b) Expansion of viewing angle: left eye aims at a sculpture while the right eye sees an artwork through a periscope from an unusual perspective. In other words, two artworks in different places are seen as one.

c) The third filter obstructs the view. Although it is aimed at an artwork it displays something different. On the end there is mirror with lines on it. On top, it is written, ‘We present your portrait as an artwork.’ Each filter has a instruction next to it explaining how it works.

Kiosk No. 2:

This kiosk was designed for the non-visual (musical) section of the festival. It contains a sound filter. A cardbaord in-let extends from both sides of the kiost. It is filled with bits of cardboard and has a lid on one end which opens and closes with the wind. The walls are isolated acoustically with egg cartons.

/a:t/BrE and Ejra-Gostaran-Moaser Performance Art Company participated from 18th to 20th Oct. in Qazvin Second Recycled Art Festival leaded by Hossein Hosseini and Shaghayegh Ghasemi. The idea of their construction was a cardboard museum framing the artworks of other participants.

Get the report of Mashhad Workshop in pdf from here.

This post in Persian gives an example of how we not only try to do art and develop concepts collectively, but also how we try to pluralize our speeches and presentations. The Persian text is a kind of a screenplay for three panelists who presented at Mashhad workshop.

Poster designed for the first anniversay of /a:t/BrE group by Hossein Hosseini.

See the branches in a larger map.

‘Through an unknown email, you are informed of a call for artists different from all you have seen before. Inspired by a short-short story by Peter Handke you are asked to provide an idea that can fit into a box measuring 40*40*30cms. The time is too short and nothing comes to your mind,’ writes Nima Emrani, an artist participating in Performance Box Curatorship held at Mohsen Gallery from 1 to 6 Oct. 2010. ‘You read the short story over and over again. You refer to the instructions to hopefully find a way. According to the instructions you should not try to be too complicated or incomprehensible. The text says the viewer is condemned to watch. You believe it not. You are confident that it is you who is condemned: condemned to create.’ We had brought our own gallery space to the gallery: a cardboard box for a single audience sitting on an adjustable chair who could view the content of smaller boxes attached one after the other to the performance box. The artworks were in different media: videos, paintings, sculptures, installations, sound art, interactive pieces, found objects, etc. Even the text quoted here was submitted by Nima Emrani to the exhibition as an artwork:  ‘What if you do not participate at all? You feel stupid and are overwhelmed with a sense of inability and absurdity. You stubbornly dismiss all ideas that come to your mind. Time is running. You are angry with yourself. Gradually, you become angry with the organizers of the exhibition. You sneer at their idea of democratizing the exhibition but it does not make you feel better. You try to convince yourself not to participate at all: the main idea is impossible. It is stupid to work under such conditions.’ The idea was to hold an exhibition, in which no artworks is excluded but not all artworks are seen either; one in which any artist could present her work and curate without the guarantee if, or how many times, her artwork would be seen: the viewers where free to choose their curator or curate for themselves according to artwork descriptions: viewer chose the person who would choose for him. ‘You torture yourself. You think of sale so as to feel better. You think of a magnificent idea that can earn you lots. It soothes you not. You think the money you receive measures not up to the pleasure that the organizers experience by torturing you. You did not expect this. You were expecting a better opportunity and they have caught you off guard. You think it is not fair; you have been oppressed.’ The idea of choosing a short story as the theme or subject of the exhibition was actually based on good intensions. The artists were free to do whatever they wished with it and we made sure the viewers would read the one-page-long text before entering the performance box. The artists were actually creating a context for a particular text. We meant any harm. ‘You think you have been insulted both as an artists and a human being. You feel offended. All this has been intended to tease you. You are confident that you were not expected to design anything in the first place. You were not supposed to do anything. It is all a game. This drives you mad.’ Many viewers too, saw it as a (serious) game which was where the performative element would step in. Viewers had to go through a ritualistic procedure for attending the show. After an online booking way in advance through our website ( they would be contacted by phone and an appointment would be set. Once in the gallery, they were asked to read the instructions and finally choose their curator. Then their height was measure so that the performance box could be adjusted accordingly. ‘You have voluntarily stepped into a game designed for tormenting you. You were not aware of this. Nobody had alarmed you and this is unfair. You are stuck and have no way back. You are angry. You wish you had never opened the email.’ Once in the Performance Box, they had their picture taken. Then they were given less than a quarter of an hour to watch and participate in their chosen curatorship. The sash-windows would open one by one, and viewers were exposed, according to their choice, to all sorts of artworks: one artwork might have asked you to take in, for a particular number of minutes, a very bad smell whilst listening to the artist’s voice addressing you, or another would require you to save a life of a gold fish dying in front of your eyes by sucking water out of a straw from a bowl containing a frog!

The exhibition tried to mimic gallery procedures as closely as possible bringing them to the foreground: boxes were salable and the gallery, the corresponding curator, artist and performer had a share. (Look at the graph.) The whole ritual was supposed to be undertaken and taken seriously despite the temporariness of the material or the idea behind the exhibition. Publicizing was done through social networking. We also tried to test how artworks work on viewers when they are in a one-to-one relationship with the audience. The influence of viewer comments was removed to a great extent: every viewer experienced the exhibition individually and in a different manner and could not discuss it with others.

The exhibition itself was a result of a group work. Originating from my performance classes at Mah-e-Mehr institute in Tehran, the performance group organizing the exhibition had the objective of ‘thinking and creating together’ as its first priority. /a:t/BrE  (or the British pronunciation of the word ‘art’) is the ironic name of a group which, once its current registration process is over, will become the first official Iranian performance company.

/a:t/BrE was invited to attend the Festival of Art of Recycle from 18 to 21 Nov. 2010 in Qazvin where artworks had to be made with recycled material (in our case: cardboards). Hossein Hosseini, Hadis Aghakhanbeygi and Mohammad Hossein Abdoli participated on behalf of the group. In this case, the concept of the structurl was not developed collectively rather by Hossein Hosseini. The structurl is a huge intestine throughwhich text highlighted by the visiters pass.

See photos of the festival at Fars News Agency websitehere.

Design: Hossein Hosseini

The blade seen in the picture is actually a real blade entering the card from one side and extending in the other. The card is protected in a plastic cover.

Poster by Hossein Hosseini for workshop in Isfahan with the subject of  ‘Interactive Art’. The subject of the workshop was to design an artwork for a cat.

An English review of the exhibition appearing in Art Tomorrow magazine, can be accessed here. The Persian version of the site contains further links to some Persian reviews of the exhibition.

Graphic Design: Hossein Hosseini

Participants in Performance Box Curatorship at Mohsen Gallery, Tehran, 01 Oct. 2010.

The following artists together with 89 viewers participated in Performance Box Curatorship at Mohsen Gallery, Tehran.

Sara Abri, Hediyeh Ahmadi, Gholam Hassan and Mohammad Amin Ahmadi, Nima Esmailpour, Hadis Aghakhanbeygi, Ghazaleh Behirai, Ali Banakar, Bavand Behpoor, Amir Hossein Bayani, Shiva Beyranvand, Shervin and Kasra Pashai, Mania Pakpoor, Mansooreh Panahbarkhoda, Atefeh Parhizkar, Shahpour Pouyan, Roxana Piroozmand, Zahra Jafarpoor, Kianoosh Tanha, Mohsen Saghafi, Setareh Jabbari, Ma’edeh Jenab, Zahra Hosseini, Hossein Hosseini, Khosrow Khosravi, Farzad Khalifeh, Parisa Rajabiyan, Samira Rahbani, Ghasem Rahimi, Mohaddeseh Rahimitabar, Elham Rasmi, Elnaz Ranjbar, Mehdi Zare’i, Shahnaz Zehtab, Shahrokh Shahinfar, Khoosheh Shayan, Rozita Sharafjahan, Hamid Reza Sadeghi, Behrang Samadzadegan, Tahmineh Tahbaz, Zahra Tabataba’i, Elham Zarifkar, Mohammad Hossein Abdali, Samireh Abdi, Asareh Akasheh, Nima Emrani, Shiva Fallahi, Farrokh Falsafi, Haleh Ghasemi, Minoo Ghahramani, Behnam Kamrani, Negin Ganjavi, Morteza Mahallati, Elaheh Moghaddami, Shiva Mihan, Nooshin Nafisi, Tali’eh Vafamehr, Reza Hedayat, Saideh Yeganeh