Open Book (January 2012)

Yasi Ghanbari addresses the viewer while attempting to speak for nine minutes without closing her mouth. Watch an excerpt of the original work by Vito Acconci here.

Yasi Ghanbari (b. 1984) is an artist living and working in Chicago. She received a BA from Oberlin College in 2007 and an MFA in Film & Video in 2010 from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her recent areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following: Eleanor Roosevelt/horticulture, defense mechanisms, “installation”, masterworks, feminism, set design, bio pics, interpassivity, guilt, reference, “mark making”, and Sigmund Freud.

The idea of reenactment seems to have become an intuitive process. Children reenact the fights of their parents, art students reenact styles/ways of painting to “learn,” etc. Despite the intuitive nature of this act, when approached about reenacting an Acconci video, I was still curious about this exact choice. Perhaps I wanted to ignore Acconci, as I am also a person who has made low-fi performance based video alone in my bedroom. Perhaps I am still not open to examining my relationship to him, but I will say that participating in this project was very interesting. Reenacting Acconci (Acconci, one name, like Madonna) videos, only using contemporary female artists, on the surface, seems to be a defiant act. But I might argue that reenactment in this case was not about defiance, but about creating something new. It was an opportunity to make the past not so distant and ask where we stand.

– Yasi Ghanbari