Thursday, September 04, 2014

The 5x5 Project Brings Music & Public Art to H Street & NoMa

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities has organized a free concert and reception at the now vacant R.L. Christian Library space (1300 H Street). This is part of the larger 5x5 Project, which is billed as DC's largest public art project. This is opening weekend for the project, which will run for three months, and consists of public art, events, and happenings.

Over in NoMa, there's another very cool event in conjunction with the unveiling of a mural. There's a screen printing workshop presented by Oakland based graphic art collective Dignidad Rebelde and local artist DECOY. This event is at 1st and N NE (NOT SE as it is listed on some websites/maps). This event runs from 2-4pm Saturday. Free tickets available.

From the Facebook page for the concert on H Street:
Please join us for an opening reception of U.S.A.I.R.A.N, a project by Sanaz Mazinani, as part of 5x5, a public art festival organized by The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

The reception will be from 4 - 6pm
Musical performance by Parnaz Partovi @ 4pm

Refreshments will be served.

U.S.A.I.R.A.N obscures the perceived divide between Iranian and US identities. By reappropriating the exterior of a vacant building in D.C.’s thriving H Street corridor, artist Sanaz Mazinani creates a sculptural symbol for the transference of culture in which one’s personal politics are recontextualized and cross-examined. 

The installation brings attention to the void of Washington D.C.’s official Embassy of Iran, which has stood regal yet vacant on Massachusetts Avenue NW since 1980. Mazinani wraps a quintessential mid-century American building — the site of the former Robert L. Christian Community Library — in intricate Islamic patterns. Articulating the nebulous sense of place from the perspective of an emigrant, muraled windows and walls reference the architectural details of the former Embassy. Upon close inspection, one will see that these patterns are comprised of mass media imagery, composed in both parallels and contradictions. U.S.A.I.R.A.N examines absence and placelessness, while at the same time explores the potential for harmony. It is a site from which to build mutual respect and activate cultural exchange.

Sanaz Mazinani is a San Francisco-based visual artist, whose work explores the relationship between perception and representation. Working primarily in photography and large-scale, photo-based installations, her practice intersects conceptual and formal boundaries of the photographic image in response to site, sight and insight, especially in relation to digital culture. Her work has been exhibited in the Museum Bärengasse, Zürich, the Art & Architecture Library at Stanford University, the University of Toronto Art Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Sarai, New Delhi, Center for Contemporary Photography in Toronto and Emirates Financial Towers in Dubai. Mazinani’s catalogue, Unfolding Images was released in 2012 by Bulgar Gallery Press. She has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission and was shortlisted for the 2013 Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize, granted the Kala Art Institute Fellowship. In 2013, Mazinani was awarded the SFAC Art on Market Street public art installation. Her artwork has been written about in Border Crossings, Nuva Luz, NOW Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, and SFWeekly. Mazinani studied art at the Ontario College of Art & Design University (2003), and received her MFA at Stanford University (2011).

Parnaz Partovi was born in Tehran, Iran. She has been playing violin since she was 10 and has performed at many regional concerts and won several awards at national competitions. She started her singing career two years ago and released her first single, "Ghasedak" in collaboration with Morad Khojasteh Nejad in 2012. She composes the vocal and violin part of her songs and usually uses the poetry of well known Iranian poets. The genres of her songs are inspired with a mixture of Jazz and Blues.

See the site in daylight in the video below.


Anonymous said...

That building would make a great scrolling billboard kinda like gallery place. with color and images wrapping around it lit up at night.
Our own little times square!
Prob provide a nice income to whoever rents the signage.

pat said...

they were doing something wednesday night, they had a minicam truck outside it .

I meant to tweet it out.

Anonymous said...


DC Police Department        

Robbery Gun,,2015 hrs,400 blk H St.,N.E, LOF;2B/M's,S-1:Heavyset,S-2:Skinny,both with T-Shirts around face,and handguns / 9396


DC Police Department        

Car Jacking_0125hrs_4th & G St NE_Lof: B/M, mid 30's, slim build, dark complexion, dreadlocks//9333

5D Stabbing, 0134 hours, 1100 Holbrook Street NE. No lookout.//2237

Anonymous said...

Black males? No way

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:18

Yeah, white people tend to commit their crimes indoors: pedophilia, coke snorting, wife beating, et cetera.

Anonymous said...

now that building is wrapped up, who knos what is going on in there?

Anonymous said...

who cares. tear it down and build that miller brothers artist community thing

Anonymous said...

I'll have to admit I was a little disturbed when I first saw this. Cultural bias and "Islamophobia" aside - the artist didn't really create something that "obscures the perceived divide between Iranian and US identities", or a "sculptural symbol for the transference of culture in which one’s personal politics are recontextualized and cross-examined".

It did manage to get the hairs on the back of my neck to raise up. It looks, for all intents and purposes like a typical Islamic "education center" that you see "over there" - obscuring the identities and activities of those that frequent them... usually young impressionable undereducated males that are "instructed" in the proper path to enlightenment.

Basically, in my opinion, the artist failed to convey anything of what the description intended, and until I had walked up an read the poorly-placed, ridiculously small placard, I was convinced someone had sold it too an Iranian-back "outreach" organization.