Giving Yesterday a Tomorrow ...
Iran: Architecture and Art
How does a society deal with its cultural heritage? How can approaches to identity, culture, tradition and history become a resource? How can we give yesterday a tomorrow, as Le Corbusier put it during a journey in 1929? In Iran, a country that can look back at several millennia of high culture, and whose cultural identity has experienced highly diverse influences and ruptures over the past five hundred years, questions like these are being asked urgently – by architects, artists, authors and scientists.
The Iranian contribution to the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale looked at different moments (and buildings) during processes of modernisation in Iran in the last century, when a process of the recreation and reinterpretation of historical heritage was initiated. The photos and videos by Mehraneh Atashi and Dadbeh Bassir and the collages and installation by Mona Hakimi- Schüler explore traditional technologies, old legends and Persian poetry, looking at their significance in today’s social and political contexts and reflecting the transformation of traditional norms in a rapidly changing world. Both Iranian architecture and these artistic positions question seemingly binary categories of past and present, tradition and modernity, seeking to combine them and make them productive for the future.