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Exercising gardens as communal spaces of interference and resistance through Iranian films, performance & music

Curated by Afsun Moshiry

The communal aspect of the garden encompasses social and behavioral notions. It is imperative to pose comprehension of its historical influences. The cultivation of trees was a revered occupation within ancient cultures, and this reverence was deeply ingrained in the psyche as a sign of hope and resilience. Over time, gardens were newly interpreted and became sites of rebellion.

On 3rd October 1969, a meeting took place at a communal backyard where a group that would later become Cinema-ye Azad declared their intention to become independent of state power. They called for experimentation and to overthrow state dogmas through film. Primarily focused on 8 mm format, they created an extensive body of work over the course of their existence. The researcher and archivist Hadi Alipanah has diligently collected Avant-Garde films from Cinema-ye Azad; this compilation of some of the recovered films will be shown for the first time outside of Iran. 

A presentation of Azade Shahmiri's performative research "Off Garden" that looks at communal gardens as places of public intervention in times of resistance will follow. It will focus on the garden as one of the oldest representations of an Other Space, as a heterotopia, as a place with its own time-space, which is always moving in the sense of growing or falling, also moves bodies and directs events not as a setting but as an agent in action. 

A get together with Contemporary Sound of Tehran will round off the programme. 


Azade Shahmiri is a theater and performance artist based in Tehran and Berlin. Her artistic practices and processes move between forms of theater, performance, lecture, and video installation, which are closely interwoven with personal narratives and readings from the past through documents, materials, and archives.

Tehran Contemporary Sounds is a Berlin-based hub, for Iranian musicians, sonic and visual artists and collectives living abroad as well as in Iran, with the aim to bring together the different voices and forces of the big spectrum of the Iranian contemporary, experimental art and music scene, widely spread across the globe.

Hanic Soleimani is an Iranian artist, singer, song-writer and puppeteer based in Berlin. She graduated in Puppetry from the Faculty of fine arts at University of Tehran. Currently she's purusing her journey in Musical puppet theater, studying at Hochschule für Schauspielkunst Ernst Busch in Berlin. She's the singer member of “OVIS”, a Funk Jazz band based in Berlin and also the member of LAN Ensemble, an experimental music trio based in Tehran/Berlin. Alongside her career as a singer and puppeteer she engages in writing for object theatre and acting.

Afsun Moshiry is an Iranian-German Film curator and producer. In 2017, she returned to her homeland of Iran with the aim to strengthen a cultural bridge between Germany and Iran in the field of cinema. She has initiated film programs with Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Berlinale Shorts, Interfilm, Arsenal - Institut für Film, Videokunst e.V. and Forum Expanded. Since 2020, she has lived and worked in Berlin. She has widened her field of work from cinema to performing arts with studies at Salzburg University. She has curated Iranian film programs for Berliner Festspiele and Akademie der Künste. Since 2021, she is a member of the selection team at Kasseler Dokfest.

AHVAZ research Photo by Azade Shahmiri
Filmstill "Dokhtarbas, didn´t want to be Alone" by Naser Gholamrezayi