By MBPDLPayday Loans
BriAnna Olson uses "Send Love to Iran" as an attempt to see the Islamic Republic of Iran through the eyes of a contemporary American artist. The project had its unlikely beginnings at the foot of the World Trade Center on the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, when BriAnna stood with a sign that read "Unconditional Love is Global Security". Part performance art, part activism-- she was moved to take a bus to New York when she realized that there would be thousands of mourners, protesters and rabble-rousers congregating and inevitably at each others throats in anger, sadness and frustration. She spoke rarely and a nine minute video summarizes the unscripted responses of New Yorkers who saw her sign on their pilgrimage to the site. The most notable reaction, from an affluent couple from Manhattan, was disgruntled and confrontational. As the woman pointed her finger, BriAnna was instructed to "take that sign to Tehran" and "...see what love you feel over there". The couple continued, providing a glimpse into their own state of consciousness, referencing World Wars and the presence of evil in the world. The interaction was less than two minutes, but long enough to inspire a bevy of questions in BriAnna's mind.
What sort of experience did these people have with Iran? Where did they get their information? What sort of media about Iran can an American find if actively seeking? Why was Iran cited, and not, say, Saudi Arabia?
Then there was another echelon of questions.
Why would someone choose to take offense to the phrase "Unconditional Love is Global Security"? How can so many claim to be capable of 'unconditional love' but consistently point to the other side of the fence as being incapable? Where do we confuse a nation with its people and who is responsible for its image?
Two years later, with the help of many, including a community of artists in Boston, BriAnna went to Tehran with fellow multimedia artist, Michael Pope. They met with many artists, curators, and even mullahs. Much of their experience was chronicled and transmitted live online, creating a place for themselves in the world of Citizen Media. BriAnna and Michael have returned with stories and pictures and present them to audiences that are surprised and delighted to have a more nuanced multi-dimensional image of Iran in their minds-eye.
BriAnna continues to share news, notes and thoughts at sendlovetoiran.blogspot.com.
"Sign at Ground Zero" can be viewed here.