Gallery erstererster, Berlin
November 22nd – December 3th 2019
Some psychoanalytic studies in popular culture, no longer deem persona cars as just vehicles, but representations of imageries like a mother's womb, the days of our attachment to the primary lover/(m)other, as well as security. These critiques don’t just end there; in film or painting, they are sometimes perceived as “Phallic” symbols, which in turn, makes streets and tunnels “Yonic” symbols. But this approach towards our internal relationship with our cars, does not only cover the dependency of iranians to roads and traffic. For iranians, spending 2-3 hours in a car in traffic is considered routine. Our relationship to our cars and each other’s cars is also not just an urban relationship. Our personal vehicles are a place to work, pray, fall in love, make conversation, have political debates, advocate religion, and quarrel about sports. They are even places of martyrdom for our nuclear scientists. Not only do we travel with our cars, but we live and die in them as well.
As a non-native observer, Jenny Hasselbachs’s photographs show the wonder of the subject towards the Iranians' intimacy and personal connection with their personal cars. The writer behind these lines, lived with this culture for many years, but due to the distance he’s had from Iran in the past five years, he’s developed an ability to draw a variety of conclusions from this culture compared to his compatriots. However, Jenny’s photos are a much fresher take than my past interpretations in conveying the message that Iranians’ cars are not really their personal vehicles. They’re almost as integral to us as our bodies and our existence as a whole. This phenomenon, above all psychoanalytic readings, does not only manifest itself in metaphors, but rather dominantly in their daily lives. They climb stairs with their cars & park them in the shade - because we love shades. They bring them to the sidewalks and cross the human/car boundaries, regardless of its legality. We are the cars we drive, and vice versa. In conclusion, I’d like to propose a question: let’s say a revolution is the assembly of venerable, helpless bodies across a city. If we consider cars our bodies, then are Jenny’s photos foreshadowing a new kind of demonstration? If petrol is charging more to feed the secure city of Zahedaan, then will the next revolution occur with our iron bodies?
Text by Alireza Labeshka