The Surface of Reality - Magdalena Kallenberger

– an artistic research project / unfinished 2008

surface of reality 01 The Surface of Reality

How does daily life in Tehran look like?

In 2007 I took part in an artistic research project whose focal point was the investigation of artistic agency and strategies in Berlin and Tehran. As part of that I figuered out that there is a big region in the world I don’t know anything about. When I went to Tehran for a 3 week trip, I recognized, that the image I had gotten in the West presented by the western medias had not much to do with the daily life in this city. The western medias reproduce the same flat and superficial images of Iran over and over again. Its just about the duty to wear a scarf, the polemic slogans of his president and the question of nuclear energy. But how is daily life in this so stupidly called “Axis of Evil“? What does it mean to live in a country that has an old history and opulent culture different from the arabic countries around? How can you experience the struggle for identity in between history, tradition, modernity and globalisation? How do people live there? What is daily life in this city about? So I decided to return in 2008 and to live there for six month trying to get to know it.

surface of reality 02 The Surface of Reality


Valiasr is a tree-lined street crossing Tehran from North to South, dividing the metropolis into western and eastern parts. It is considered to be one of Tehran’s main thoroughfares and commercial centres. Valiasr is the hub of different activities in Tehran and innumerable shops and restaurants as well a large number of parks (like Mellat Park). Highways, cultural centers etc. are situated along this long avenue. Valiasr runs for 12 miles (19,3 kilometers) starting at Tajrish Square in the North to Tehran’s railway station in the South and is filled with traffic at all hours, even until the early morning. It is also the longest city in the Middle East and shows by the way the urbanisation of Tehran since it became his mayor axis in 1870. Today the street reflects the social mixture and heterogeneity of the teherani society.

surface of reality 03 The Surface of Reality

The Surface of Reality

is an unfinished collection of moving images and photographs taken along Valiasr with sound and text fragments reflecting the process of assimliation, showing different approaches, perspectives and views alongside the street.

surface of reality 04 The Surface of Reality