Mirak Jamal | Running Man

A passion for dancing that a young Iranian immigrant growing up in Germany has exercised in his childhood, has since turned into a project of meditative retrospect and searching in Mirak Jamal’s art practice. His friend Navid Akhavan, who accompanied him in the original video in 1991, continued on with his brother Omid to form a Persian pop star duo. Years later and two countries in between, Jamal also turned to dance again. Though his is a different path: running in trail of the dance steps of childhood days past – The Running Man.

Mirak Jamal (b. 1979 in Tehran, lives in Berlin), Running Man, 1991- 2011. Stereo, 9:14 (Link)

Mirak Jamal grew up between Iran, the Soviet Union, Germany, the US, and Canada; and now lives in Berlin. His work is autobiographical, yet its narrative moments are physically inserted into the iconography of the sites selected for his performative interventions — some private, others public, yet all social, such as his parents’ living room and home in Toronto, the Marx and Engels monument in Berlin, the former Embassy of Iraq in East Germany, or the sports stadium in Istanbul. These interventions, presented in a performative video series entitled Running Man, ongoing since 1991, complicate the socio-historical narratives by methodically, rhythmically unwinding the temporal structure of the social space, and thus deconstructing it with a simple gesture embedded into a motor memory of the body, which asserts the potential of a private gesture in a social space. The artist notes “how emphasized small gestures become in a setting of monotonous repetition. And how at times the narcissism of the “I” gets coincidentally reversed into a secondary role through accidental interplays of the background.” He further emphasizes his wish “to embellish in the project at large the dissolution, through repetition and misplacement, of a symbolic act and embody a singular dimension comprised of a past/present/future.”

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