"Dear 1979, Meet 1989"
Slavs and Tatars
February 7 - March 23rd, 2013
Dear 1979, Meet 1989 brings together Slavs and Tatars' archive of books and associated ephemera examining the relationship between Poland and Iran. The collection grew out of the artist collective's initial research for their lecture-performances and for the publication 79.89.09. While 79.89.09 focuses on the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and Poland's Solidarność movement, the archive has swelled to include publications on a diverse range of topics that resonate with this unlikely common history, from Sarmatism and the Polish Exodus to Iran during World War II, to a treasure trove of government-sponsored 'official' histories.
The archive was first presented at Birmingham's Eastside Projects as part of Book Works' Again a Time Machine exhibition and has since become an integral part of the Friendship of Nations: Polish Shi'ite Showbiz project. It has traveled as a mobile library that would make Ali Shariati proud (if perturbed at the polyphony of voices), to such diverse destinations as Prague, Gdańskand and Vancouver. Though the collective has attempted to include a significant mix of both primary and secondary sources, the library is in no way intended to be exhaustive nor is it an endorsement or indication of their convictions: rather, this collection is only a testament to their curiosities. Dear 1979, Meet 1989 is being presented in tandem with Friendship of Nations: Polish Shi'ite Showbiz on view at the REDCAT from February 10 - March 24, 2013.
This display was accompanied by a lecture-performance, “Molla Nasreddin: Embrace Your Antithesis.” Arguably the most important Muslim satirical political magazine of the 20th century, “Molla Nasreddin” was read by an audience that stretched from Morocco to India, and addressed issues such as gender equality, education, colonialism, and Islam’s integration of modernity – all of which remain as relevant and pressing to today’s global audience as when the magazine was first published a century ago. Slavs and Tatars will present a case study of the complex Caucasus region and discuss the book's historical context, the figure of the anti-modern and the issue of self-censorship both then and now.
Slavs and Tatars is a faction of polemics and intimacies devoted to an area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia. The collective's work spans several media, disciplines and a broad spectrum of cultural registers (high and low) focusing on an oft-forgotten sphere of influence between Slavs, Caucasians and Central Asians.