Apartment number 8

Public intervention Tehran 2015

Apartment Number 8” in Miremad  street, 5th avenue, with three floors, is waiting to get demolished. Between the eviction and the demolition, I turn the apartment into a theatre and art space. During three weeks of painting in this place, I experienced the combination of fragility and permanence. The home itself is immediately familiar to the participants: it is an extremely normal home, a 1970s construction whose spaces, rooms, size, and look are so ordinary and so common in Tehran’s environment of mass-produced apartments that even as they are strange and crumbling, they are familiar and evoke memories.  This home – whose furniture and walls are covered in dust, still somehow looks like a home who is waiting for its family to come back from their weekend vacation getaway to the beaches of the North.

But broken windows, doors, destroyed left-overs of furniture and the stump of a chopped-down tree in the backyard tell the true reality of the home. In the modern urban Tehrani dialect, this home is waiting to be “smashed”.

This suspension of time manifested in the soon-to-be-destroyed ruins creates the perfect birth place for nostalgia: The past is alive. Every detail of the home is connected to the past. In a few months, the entire home itself will be part of the past. You can even have a nostalgia of the future in which this home will cease to exist.

 Now, what if we stop to imagine the previous inhabitants of this home: Potential curtains on the windows, photos inside of the shadows of disappeared frames, relationships between members of this family, wide corridors…? What if we push back the endless nostalgia of a Tehran which is not there anymore in order to see the Tehran that is there? What if we imagine the home which is coming or is yet to come? If we see the Tehran that is there, then we see the Tehran which is constantly collapsing and rising.

Then, maybe this is the permanent Tehran, a city suspended between crumbling and giving birth. The home manifests shapes in this suspension

“Apartment Number 8” is the result of these thoughts, of spending three weeks in this home, painting and living far and close to Tehran.