After devoting the past 5 years to two cycles of work, namely, a celebration of complexity in the Caucasus (Kidnapping Mountains, Molla Nasreddin) and the unlikely heritage between Poland and Iran (Friendship of Nations: Polish Shi’ite Showbiz, 79.89.09), we have begun work on our new cycle, The Faculty of Substitution–replacing one thing for another, telling one tale through another–a look at substitution in the widest sense, from al-badaliya to the antimodern. Adopting the inner-most thoughts, experiences, beliefs, and sensations of others as one’s own, The Faculty of Substitution offers a subtle, sophisticated rethinking of self-discovery in an effort to explore the urgency of mystical protest, or the role of the sacred and holy as an agent for concrete change in the material world.
Slavs and Tatars is a faction of polemics and intimacies devoted to an area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia. The collective’s work spans several media, disciplines, and a broad spectrum of cultural registers (high and low) focusing on an oft-forgotten sphere of influence between Slavs, Caucasians and Central Asians. Their work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.