Sometimes an artwork will envelop the viewer, make the viewer forget where they are and make them feel as if they are in another world. “From Here to Breath,” an installation by Nazanin Arandi at Centre Gallery in the Marshall Center attempts to do just that. The exhibit invites visitors to experience a culture many people, for many reasons, are afraid of or simply ignore.
Arandi, a student from the USF Art Department, deals with the struggle of influences such as religion and culture and how they can determine one’s identity. A native of Iran, she deals with conflicting cultures of Islam and America, both of which she said she embraces. Arandi confronts a woman’s place in both societies and to themselves.
An ankle-high box of sand welcomes visitors into the gallery, immediately conferring a sense of earthiness to the indoor space. This can also be said of the green geometric forms hanging from the ceiling above the sand box. Arandi studied architecture in Iran and applies that knowledge to effectively use the gallery space.
“I love the fluidity of the installation. It is as if it breathes on its own,” said student Sabina PeÃ±a.
The installation also features three video pieces, two seven-minute films projected on screens set at a 90-degree angle and one 30-minute film projected on the rear of the two screens. One film shows a woman serenely floating on water.
“The film with the water feels very peaceful,” said volunteer Mike Caraker.
The film to the rear, since it is projected inside an angle, makes the viewers feel as if they are in a mini theater being incorporated into the work.
Sunni Barbera, gallery director, said she enjoyed Arandi’s use of video.
“She does a good job of using video out of a dramatic or theatrical context,” Barbera said.