Ride the Caspian | Film Screening

Friday 17 May 2019
3:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Screening Room, Somerset House

Still from Ride the Caspian, Bahar Behbahani & Almagul Menlibayeva, 2011, Two-channel, HD Video © Bahar Behbahani & Almagul Menlibayeva

In their hybrid collaboration, Ride the Caspian, Bahar Behbahani and Almagul Menlibayeva forge a relationship fraught with psycho-geographic and socio-political contradictions. Their birth countries—Iran and Kazakhstan—are at the crossroads of the Middle East and Central Asia, adjacent to one another and bound by the Caspian Sea.

The artists situate their dual narrative at the edge of that liquid in-between space. Aware of how the future must reckon with their ancient past, they share the role of translator. Behbahani and Menlibayeva lay bare deeply conflicted histories at the same time they slyly vaunt the oil-producing region’s controlling presence in global politics.

Each draws from a personal collection of symbols that establishes the critical gravity of memory. Together, they allow good and evil to co-exist in a transcultural dimension where the ironies of cliché and stereotype, truth and myth are illuminated.

Cathy Byrd, Founder and Artistic Director, Fresh Art International