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I Am....An audience-centered public installation,Penang,Malaysia 2009

Transcript of you are who you are..I Am who I Am..

  • I Am.... An audience-centered public installation,

    Penang, Malaysia 2009

  • I Am....

  • I Am....An audience-centered public installation23 - 25 July 2009Jalan Kapitan Keling, Penang, Malaysia

    Pengkarya / ArtistShahram Entekhabi

    Produser / ProducersJoe Sidek & Hasnul Jamal Saidon

    Konsep Rekabentuk & Produksi Video / Design Concept & Video ProductionShamsul Ikhmal Mansori

    Pembantu Teknikal / Technical AssistantsAfzanizam Mohd Ali,Aizuan Azmi,Mohd Firdaus Khairuddin,Nur Hafizah Ab. Aziz, Nor Mohamad Abd. Rahim, Noordin Ban, Rosli Hamzah, Muhammad Husni Abd. Latiff, Mohamad Yazdi Yaacop, Izrul Abd. Aziz, Noor Rashid Shabidi

    Pembantu Penerbitan / Publication Assistants Nor Laila Abd. Rozak@Razak, Safinawati Samsudin

    Pembantu Kewangan / Financial AssistantRohaya Sanapi

    Promosi & Publisiti / Promotion & PublicityNurul Ashikin Shuib, Azizi Yahya, Adlan Redzuan, Salim Ibrahim

    Sokongan Umum / General SupportRadhiyah Abu Bakar, Salmiah Mohamad, Faridah Hashim, Ravi Vansamy

    Pelajar / StudentsMuhammad Firdaus Khiruddin, Shabihan Ibrahim, Mohamad Afif bin Mohamad Jafre, Nur Syuhairah Mohd Harun,Nur Malawati Abdul Hamid, Siti Nazurah Hashim, Marshitah Jaapar,Husna Nawar Loksin, Siti Fatemah Khamis, Llwellyn Frederick,Wan Mariam Adila Wan Ali Mohktar,Siti Rahayu,Nor Maizan Ab Razak,Nur Farah Atikah Azhar

    Pameran Atas Talian / Online Exhibition

    ISBN 978-967-100008-8-5In Conjuction with 1st Anniversary GEORGE TOWN World Heritage Site Celebration

    2010 Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, Universiti Sains Malaysia.Semua hak cipta adalah terpelihara. Sebarang bahagian di dalam buku ini tidak boleh diterbitkan semulakecuali untuk tujuan kajian dan kritikan dalam bentuk atau dengan sebarang cara tanpa izin penulis atau penerbit.

    Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau PinangTelefon/Telephone: 04 6533888 samb/ext3261/4789/2137/4786/4787/4788 Faks/Fax: 04 6563531 Emel/Email: Laman web/Website:

    supported by

  • The Cultural Heritage Area is part of the earliest and historically, the most well-endowed part of George Town. Built up over a period of more than 200 years, it offers an evocative and readable record of the diverse cultural traditions of a largely immigrant society.1



  • Pitt Street (now called Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling) was reserved for religious institutions.2

    1 & 2.The Urban Legacy of Penangs Early Sattlers. Historical Background of the Cultural Heritage Area by Khoo Salmah. 30 October 1997


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  • Contents

    Synopsis 10

    Foreword 14-15

    Listening to, instead of talking to 16-17

    I Am... Video Recording 21-27

    I Am... The Video Statements 28-43

    I Am... In Texts and Images 44-61

    I Am... The Making 62-75

    I Am... The Team 76-77

    Acknowledgement 78-79


  • Synopsis

    I Am...

    This project is a process of self-definiton that adresseses the question of identify amongst Penangs peoples who are made up of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.

    Here, we are curious to learn how members of Penangs vibrant community identify themselves in a heritage city that traces its roots to various parts of Asia and Europe.

    This project utilises a cargo container that is installed at the historically and culturally vibrant Kapitan Keling road, George Town, Penang. While its interior space functions as a contemporary video recording studio, an LCD monitor installed in its exterior projects live video of people naratting their identities to the public.

    When members enter the studio, they will adress the subject of I Am... with a short video statement. Their statements are screened on the LCD monitor on the exterior and watched by the passing public. This process encourages people in public spaces to discuss and share their notions of identify with one another, while celebrating the diversity that is unique only to Penang.

    In employing an inter-textual approach, the project functions as a discursive, inclusive and participative site where the notions of identify and of becoming are performed by the public.


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    Happy doing businessin Little India becauseI meet a lot of people

    -K Kanakambar (Rajathy@Aty)

  • The I AM... Project or UNITY Project engages with local communities in exploring notions of identity, culture and belonging in multi-cultural Malaysia.

    This project is a process of self-definition that addresses the question of identity amongst Penangites who are made up of a variety of ethnicity, faith, gender, age, education and social status.

    Here, we are curious to learn how members of Penangs vibrant community identify themselves in a heritage city that traces its roots to various parts of Asia and Europe. Functioning as a video recording studio in which people enter to narrate their identities to the public, the cargo container that is placed in the heart of Penangs Street of Harmony also symbolises the voyages and mobility of diverse peoples who have traveled to the shores of Penang.

    In encouraging people to discuss and share their notions of identity with one another in the public space, the I AM Project hopes to foster a sense of openness and dialogue amongst people, while inspiring them to celebrate the diversity that is unique only to Penang.

    In the last 30 years, the so-called community art has become a very common and widely used artistic praxis. The method of stabilising an artistic process by involving a public space and its diwellers includes the process of highlighting their social and ethnic positioning on the one hand and using the new media for documentation on the other. Often, the artistic process also includes an intense research of social phenomenon and leads sometimes to a discovery of unknown or hidden layers of information.

    I Am... is a project that responds to both artistic and media development.

    It is a response to the numerous works about the I identity in a globalised world. I Am... project is an experiment to develope an alternative way to handle the question of belonging within the multi-cultural and multi-ethnic history of Malaysia especially in Penang.

    Forewordby Shahram Entekhabi


  • I Am... project opens a natural view to looking for minorities without creating an artistic self portrait of the community.

    I Am... project offers the possibility of interactivity so that members of the audience can make their own portraits of the community - reflecting the information given by the community itself without the directors censorship and control.

    I Am Shahram Entekhabi. As an Iranian-born artist who left to study in Europe, I am a product of Persian-Islamic culture enriched with a deep insight of European culture and its everyday life. As I travel the world and witness the similarities and differences between various cultures, I observe my surroundings without consuming it. People and their cultures intrigue me and in my study of them, of us and how we are, I attempt to also understand myself.

    Throughout my journey and stays around the world, Ive come to realise how our cultural belonging is to a large extent shaped by our childhood. For it is during our childhood that we were able to discover, understand and experiment in what was usually a secure and protected environment. At least for me, that was the case. My surrounding was deeply imbued with a strong sense of spirituality and this was where my impressions of Self, of others and how I engaged with the world were formed.

    Living in Penang and having an assortment of so-called identities imposed on me, e.g. foreigner, Persian, Muslim, etc. have made me realised how ones personal identity is really a hybrid and not monolithic at all. We are who we are, made up of and influenced by a variety of inter-playing elements.

    My consciousness about being an artist has definitely given me the opportunity to work with Joe Sidek and Hasnul J Saidon to discover experiences of being in contrasting environments and understanding how this impacts ones identity. Fascinatingly enough, it has allowed me to come home. Through reflection and

    introspection, Ive come to appreciate how the spiritual, Muslim and Oriental aspects of my upbringing are very much a part of who I am as an individual.

    Indeed, I see the artist as a hybrid, a very elastic sort of identity, of having access to what was and is. I also believe in the necessity of cultures opening up to each other and to mutually contribute towards the thought and production of contemporary art.


  • Listening to, instead of talking Hasnul Jamal Saidon

    Similar to meanings in language, identities are produced by active human agents.

    Derridas influence has underpinned the widespread adoption of anti-essentialis