Seep departs from two archives related to the construction of modernity and modernization in Iran: One is the archive of British Petroleum (BP) related to the company's origin in Iran between 1901 and 1951, when it found the first oil in the Middle East. This section of the BP archive is not only a meticulous registration of the company's development and growth in Iran but also a story of modernisation and modernity. The other archive belongs to a quarter of a century later: the collection of Western art from late nineteenth century to the late 1970s in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMOCA). Through this two archives Tabatabai and Afrassiabi deal with the reinterpretation and understanding of the archive as a tool to research the historical conditions of politics and cultural production and their re-articulation through art. In this project the notion of archive, its meanings and limits are questioned through visual statements that force us to reconsider the archive's impossibility and irresoluteness.
Nasrin Tabatabai and Babak Afrassiabi have been collaborating together under the name Pages since 2004, involving various joint projects and the publication of a bilingual magazine in Farsi and English. They are based in Rotterdam and work both in Iran and the Netherlands. Their projects and the magazine's editorial approach are closely linked, often founded on the historically and politically equivocal relationships between modernity and contemporary art.
'Seep', 2012. Installation, still from Video 2, Nasrin Tabatabai & Babak Afrassiabi