In a fictional Iranian nightclub in a not-so-distant dystopian future, ecological, socio-economic, and human rights issues caused by the expansion of neoliberalism in the Middle East start to unravel.
Bijan Moosavi’s largest solo exhibition to date centres around Disco Islam a sci-fi quasi-commercial video combining CGI, live-action, Islamic kitsch and music, set in an immersive environment that references club culture, the desert, and the language of corporate advertising.
As neoliberalism has become the dominant ideology in late capitalist societies in the West, economic policies prescribed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been presented as the only way toward growth, freedom, and democracy in the Global South and Middle East. Disco Islam: Future Phantasmagoria speculates on a ‘perfect’ neoliberal Middle Eastern future – privatized, deregulated, and market-oriented – where the aesthetics of advertising and commerce, environmental catastrophe, and club culture combine with techno-utopian solutions from Silicon Valley.
Bijan offers a vision of a world where authoritarian Middle Eastern regimes’ human rights violations are traded in favour of international business, local crimes driven by inequalities are solved by hovering ‘killer drones’, restrictions prescribed by Islamic law are addressed by transforming individuals into genderless avatars, cultural censorship is applied using AI, and environmental disasters are ignored by a private sector obsessed with profit.
Welcome to Disco Islam: A Middle Eastern horror show from the future.
Hear more about the project direct from Bijan at From the Artists Mouth on Instagram Live, Thursday, 2 June,
Bijan will bring the installation to life with a live performance – Disco Islam Commentary Performance – as part of Digbeth First Friday on 1 July, 7pm, taking on the role of Muslim entrepreneur and Islamic futurist and riffing off YouTube commentary and reaction videos
Bijan Moosavi is an Iranian multimedia artist based in London. He describes himself as a Muslim entrepreneur and an Islamic futurist. He makes films, music, performances and installations which look at the implications of the expansion of neoliberalism in the Middle East. These stories demystify the myth that the only way towards democracy and freedom in the Middle East is through the liberation of the market.
Bijan has presented his work at V.O Curations, London (2022), AD/AD Project Space, Hanover (2021), The Nunnery Gallery, London (2020), Forecast Forum, Berlin (2019), Bonhams, London (2018), The Art House, Wakefield (2017), OTO Project Space, London (2016), Lewisham Arthouse, London (2015), SOAS University, London (2012), Mohsen Art Gallery, Tehran (2010), Sazmanab Project, Tehran (2010) and Azad Art Gallery, Tehran (2010). He was selected as a finalist for the Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize in 2018 and 2013 and was an artist-in-residence at the Delfina Foundation in London in 2019.
This exhibition is the latest in a series of projects by EOP members. EOP supports artists to develop work, ideas, connections and careers through a programme of events, opportunities and projects.