Nowadays, many events become meaningless due to the repeated reproduction of catastrophic images by numerous media and also the people’s permanent exposure to violence in media. This reduces the sensitivity to real violence and the acts of violence are viewed as banal and normal. It is therefore very important to make people responsible by educating them in this regard. With the Islamic Revolution, public executions were introduced in Iran with the aim of suppressing, intimidating and teaching the population a lesson, among other things, in order to prevent political activities against the government which legitimizes violence as a punishment. Public executions, which remain ubiquitous in the Islamic Republic, attract large numbers of onlookers including children. Some just watch, others photograph and film the execution, while some even seem to enjoy the moment. This leads to an indifference to the death penalty through a process of normalization.
“Audience” is a series of analogue and digital collages that deals with this topic and shows the spectators of such executions as the main subject because of their pivotal role in the continuation of autocratic governments in different countries. These collages, composed of collected photos from public executions in Iran, feature disfigured and distorted spectators bizarrely intertwined. The aim is not only to address the problem of executions in Iran, but also to raise the problem of „gawking“ to a higher level. The question is to what extent the viewer is also a perpetrator and what moral responsibilities he bears.
Carneval (2021), analog photocollage, 100 ×150 cm
Nazanin Hafez © 2021