Behzad Nejadghanbar is justified in claiming that  performances are swarming these days in Tehran! It was not long ago that we heard of ‘Thirty Nights, Thirty Performances’ and now there are performances happening everywhere! Yet, much of what is performed is not performance in the true sense of the word; rather what have their own proper names:contemporary dance, music, experimental theatre, social empowerment, etc.

For instance, Mahmood Maktabi’s performance, a picture of which you see here has something live and real to it (his hair is ‘really’ shaved) while his body plays a role (his real hair) yet this is not enough for the work to qualify as performance art: there is something very theatrical and symbolic about it. Of course, it might also be the case that the performance is tailored to the demands of the gallery. And of course, I have not personally witnessed his performance and performance art should be experienced in person, yet there is an afterlife for performance continuing through images and the concepts. And as such, one is justified to write about such an image, the production of which usually preoccupies performers.

And I ask: if a performance is to be experienced, is every performance worthy of being experienced? One can ask: after Shahab Fotouhi’s and Mahmood Bakhshi’s playing football in the gallery, and after Navid Jahanbakhsh’s performers reading newspapers and sleeping in the gallery and Amir Mobed’s family fight at Mohsen Gallery (resulting in casualties!) is it not time for a haircut in the gallery? Probably, cooking, changing light bulbs, hoovering and washing dishes are next. Is it due to an absence of life, making ordinary life such a curious scene or is it the effect of stepping on stage which changes the meaning behind everything? Of course it changes everything. But is it for the better?