Amir Baradaran has been selected by PULSE Contemporary Art Fair for its signature projects series as part of Miami Art Basel Week. This body of work is funded by the prestigious Canadian Council of the Arts and presented by Morgan Stanley.

Private preview brunch from 1-4pm on december 1, 2015. The installation will remain on display throughout the fair, december 1-5, 2015.



Augmented reality (AR) interactive performance, two depth and color sensors, facial detection and body movement algorithms, two 42” digital monitors, two microphones, large projection panel and projector

Artist Statement

Through its making of a digital palimpsest, Man Na Manam Na Man Manam comments on Augmented Reality (AR) technology’s promise to change our experiencing of body/object and body/body interactions. This interactive installation is conceived to add new layers of meaning to the ways in which bodies are perceived, projected and consumed in performance art. Instigating discussions around time-based fragmentation of the self in relation to the triangulation of the body of the participant, that of the artist, and the body of work, itself, this AR performance creates a new visual vocabulary to further complicate human/machine dichotomy. The title (translated “I Am Not I And Neither Am I I”) is a line of mystical Sufi poetry attributed to the 13th century Persian poet and scholar known as Rumi. Departing from this profundity, I hope to explore the outer limits of identity, spirit and body interacting and melding with technology. The poetry unsettles understanding of the (Divine) Self in relation to the (Beloved) Other as they act both as the objects of desire as well as the desiring subjects.

For the installation to activate, the participant and I must stand in front of each other, connected through digital mirrors and cameras equipped with depth sensors, colour sensors, facial detection and movement algorithms. A 15 seconds grab of the interaction is recorded and processed live into a short video and is uploaded to Instagram—and projected onto a large screen across from the room. The performance intertwines the sounds of rhythmic Sufi poetry with the most common and influential sensory motor skill known to mankind - the smile - to activate AR coding. The result simulates the ontology of a “what exists” analysis by Augmented Reality algorithmic programing of cause and effect married to human sapience.

The machine starts activating if both the participant and the artist start singing the refrain aloud. Slowly half of the face of the participant dissolves and gets replaced by that of the artist and vice versa. Blending the mysteries behind the spectacle of the AR technology to that of Sufi poetry, the sound of the mantra-like refrain, the fragmented reflection of the self and the very act of smiling evoke a moment of introspection with the ability to speak the language of the machine and thus activating its codes.

Project Description

Participants are asked to enter their contact names and social media info (Twitter and Instagram) before entering the performance area.

Two TV screens serving as digital mirrors are mounted side by side on the wall. Performance artist stands in front of the left TV while the participant is asked to stand in front of the right one. TVs are equipped with camera and depth and colour sensors.

The installation gets activated as the participant and the artist both smile at the mirror and repeat a Sufi refrain from a Persian poem by Rumi: Man Na Manam, Na Man Manam! Slowly half of the face of the participant dissolves and gets replaced by that of the artist and vice versa. In other words, the two faces are cut vertically through the nose line and merged into one another. A 10 seconds grab of the screen gets recorded and processed live into a short video.

A separate large screen projection is set up at an opposite end of the room with a visual mosaic placeholder including some texts, videos and blank spaces. As the performance generates new video portraits (also posted on Instagram through specific hashtags), randomly these videos are projected into the large screen. Videos are interchanged with texts and animations using transliteration of the refrain and other words from the poem. A line under each video will show number of likes on Instagram and the exact time of the merging of bodies into one video performance.


This installation was made possible by generous support from Canada Art Council and collaboration between Intel Corporation, Diana Saez, Reality Arkitekts Inc, Devigners’ Guild (Jorge Barrios, Armando León, Javier Muñoz), MYND Workshop (Michael Robison) & Christopher E. Scott.