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Borders Are an Imaginary Line

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Borders Are an Imaginary Line is part of an ongoing collaboration between Meshkat Talebi and Olivier Terpstra that combines prose, moving image, soundscapes and music to create an immersive audio-visual installation. Their process is gradual, it grows like a conversation and starts with a recording of Talebi reading a piece of her writing, perhaps accompanied by some moving image suggesting a time or a place. Terpstra responds with a soundscape, a gesture or an effect. The conversation grows, call and response, refine and revise. They create a space to share their dialogue and offer the personal as political in a bid to explore a complex and often divisive issue. Within the exhibition, the artists will endeavor to incorporate a live performance as well. Throughout the performance, the artists will address the possibility of personal
memories emerging in the public realm and how they can be used to address, question, and criticize broader topics such as politics, nationality, mother tongue, and the imaginary lines between West and East. Talebi and Terpstra challenge themselves to enact their working process live, sharing their dialogue of personal narrative, embodied language, shared sonic spaces and gestures in a bid to activate language, body and memory together with the audience.
this is a soundscore Olivier Terpstra has composed with the written text of Meshkat Talebi and her spoken words. during this soundpiece, you will hear various sounds from Terpstra's archive, Talebi's recorded voice, and the ambiance.

Artist statement

Meshkat Talebi (b. 1998, Iran) is a visual artist working predominantly in photography and moving image and increasingly interested in audio-visual environments as spaces to explore socio-political concerns collectively. She is interested in creating generative conditions for audiences to think critically but also to relate personally to broad socio-political issues with deep personal impact.


Having a background in humanities studies, I have consistently integrated socio-political dilemmas into my artistic practice. I have consistently positioned myself as a case study in my work, serving as an individual exemplifying broader societal dynamics, with a distinct focus on my body as a female artist-activist. It is my aspiration to explore the vast potential of installation and performance by employing a diverse range of materials and tools. I am eager to expand my technical expertise, including proficiency in various software applications used for creating digital moving images. Furthermore, I am determined to refine my writing skills and engage in collaborations with various publications, broadening the scope of my creative expression. Eventually, I would like to be able to generate income from my art by freely utilizing my diverse knowledge and media skills.

Learned during the studies

The most important thing is that I am no longer afraid of exploring mediums and materials that are entirely new to me. Maintaining a balance between theory and practice is something I will always cherish in my artistic endeavors. Adopting an open mind towards feedback allows me to enrich my perspective on the world and enhances my approach to my practice which I owe from the two years Master in HKU.

List of publications / exhibitions / prices / concerts / shows etc.

December-2022: Group exhibition in Casco Art Gallery, Utrecht, NL
April-2019: Group exhibition in Aria gallery
December-2018: Exhibition in the third annual photo of the University of Tehran
November-2016: Group exhibition in Tehran independent gallery

2018-2020: Managing director of student magazine– Cheshmak

Nishtman ( Motherland )

Can language serve as a political instrument? Can it be defined as a form of political resistance? How does oppression manifest itself within the confines of a dominant language, specifically labeled as the national language? Conversely, how can the utilization of marginalized languages in everyday life and oral traditions be regarded as a form of political struggle?

Language and cultural capital are profoundly interconnected. Language harbors a rich historical repository encompassing oral traditions, collective memories, shared traumas, and the chronicles of resistance. It serves as a testament to past achievements and future possibilities. Consequently, it can be viewed as an immensely potent political tool, extending beyond its conventional function of communication. Language shapes a tangible facet of identity, rendering any distortion of language tantamount to distorting history itself.

Focusing particularly on the ongoing feminist revolution in Iran, my birth country, with its central motto of "Woman, Life, Freedom," I have endeavored to delve into the core inquiries posed earlier in this text. When a concept invokes the suppressed history of resistance, it often materializes through the power of slogans. By tracing the pivotal role of language in shaping identity, I will explore the political potential of language within the context of revolution and daily life.