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How has a globalised cultural economy affected the production of contemporary visual culture in North Africa and the Middle East?

Anahita Razmi
7 May 2013

In the globalised world we live in, I feel that creating the image of an enemy becomes a difficult task. It becomes difficult to name and make symbols for an enemy – an abstract 'evil' – since things are never abstract, but always and at any time connected and related.


I last year photographed a very known Anti-American mural in downtown Tehran, one of many examples of visual propaganda culture in the public space of the city.


Anahita Razmi, Up and Down with the USA, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.
Anahita Razmi, Up and Down with the USA, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.


The mural shows a modified American flag and on top of the painting large letters read: DOWN WITH THE U.S.A. The changed iconography replaces flag stripes with falling bombs and stars replaced by skulls. Standing there, I realized that the colours of the mural had been recently repainted. The mural was so bright and colourful, as if its symbolic value needed a renewal.


My work Up and Down with the USA presents my photograph of this mural as a slide, yet the image is inserted upside down into the projector. Falling bombs become rising ones, the random nature inherent in the reversal of the image is opposed by the pathos of what is shown. By assigning a shifting significance to an existing propaganda image, Up and Down with the USA is trying to refer to a more authentic history between Iran and the United States: a history, that is one of many changing relationships, influences, dependencies and conflicts. The battle cry 'Down' is replaced by a fickle: 'Up and Down, Up and Down …'


What is the symbolic value again?

Anahita Razmi

is an artist based in Stuttgart, Germany, working with video, photography and installation.

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