Is there something beautiful about an explosion? This is one of many questions raised in an ambitious, site-specific installation by San Francisco artist Sanaz Mazinani presented at the Asian Art Museum between March 27 - May 3, 2015. Threshold presents a video created with explosion scenes from 11 recent Hollywood movies, mirrored and multiplied beyond recognition. The resulting kaleidoscopic Islamic geometries of color, pattern and movement—inspired by the artist’s trips home to Iran—are reflected in dazzling laser-cut mirrored panels that line the space. This interplay between the architectural setting and the moving image results in a shift in perception, prompting audiences to consider the complexities of entertainment, mass media and the violence of war. This video documents the installation as well as the collaboration between Mazinani and dancer/choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith, titled Crossing Threshold.
Stories of the prophets from the Old and New Testaments have had a long history of illustration in Islamic painting traditions. Drawing from accounts in the Qur’an and other sources in Islamic literature, scholars, poets, historians and storytellers developed new texts on the lives of the prophets. These texts were often accompanied by paintings. Dr. Robert Hillenbrand will explore the richness of some of these literary and artistic traditions.
Poet, author and filmmaker Michael Wolfe shares personal stories from his journeys to the Arabian Peninsula. A critically acclaimed filmmaker, Wolfe hosted an inside account of the hajj (pilgrimage) for Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” on ABC during Wolfe’s pilgrimage to Mecca in 1997.