In Islamic terminology, the term "makruh" refers to a detestable act, although it is neither forbidden nor subject to punishment. A Muslim who abstains from engaging in acts considered makruh will be rewarded. Ali Phi explores this very concept through his audiovisual set, in which there is no certainty of decision-making, nor is any confirmation provided. Contrasts between the dark ambiances and tranquility of techno-electronic music are examined, as well as Middle-Eastern and West-Asian musical motifs. Phi makes use of computer programming and generative design in his work, embracing ritual, tradition, and architecture, with particular visual influence drawn from ancient Persia and the Middle East. With these elements he imagines futuristic utopias. He is also the founder and creative director of Nullsight, a media arts collective, and has been the curator of the Tehran Annual Digital Art Exhibition Festival since 2014. He has performed and exhibited internationally at venues that include MUTEK Dubai, Ars Electronica (Austria), the Ontario Science Centre, Tasmeem Doha (Qatar), and the Tehran Architecture Biennial. Most recently, Phi’s work has been presented at Patchlab Digital Art Festival (Poland) and Asia Art Fair (France). Works that are part of his commercial art practice are represented by Mohsen Gallery in Tehran, Iran.
The audiovisual performance MAQRUH by Ali Phi is composed of seven elements. Together they depict the cyclical formation of an entity and include the following phases: passivity, avoidance, constriction, conformity, elevation, expiry, and revival. These stages are based on Arabic loanwords in Farsi (i.e. Farsi words with Arabic origins), based on the verb forms Enfe'al.
*Please note, the performance includes extreme sounds and flashing images that people with epilepsy and sensitivity may wish to consider.
This project is supported and funded by the Ontario Arts Council.
Ali Phi is an iranian-born media artist, art activist, musician, and creative technologist whose work depicts the relation between point, line, plane, light, and darkness.
Tehran Contemporary Sounds, Unexplained Sounds Group, Opal Tapes
Ali Phi’s artistic pursuits began at the age of 12 with Sony Handycams, Atari, Sega and his first personal computer, which enabled him to explore other worlds.