Graphic Design and Animation Graduates 2012

Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.

Mona Barzandeh

How interactive design can be utilized to publicise the lack of Iranian women’s rights in contemporary Iranian culture to a global audience.

Iran is renowned for being one of the earliest centres of human settlement and one of the greatest Near-Eastern civilizations. Between the 9th and 13th centuries, Persia was one of the most civilized countries in the world as it was known for its fine crafts and world-wide distribution through the 16th Century.

Although in the 21st century Iran was depicted by the media to be a violent country due to hearsay and close-minded thoughts on the wars, nuclear weapons and oil. Nevertheless it is only but a country with strict boundaries, which confines the rights of the citizens.

I decided to think more about my culture and learn more about my families heritage and how life was for them growing up in these harsh conditions. My mother is my inspiration and I admire her dearly, and I was interested in knowing more about her story and what she has to say about Iran. This includes why she left her entire family to raise a family here in New Zealand. I want her story, as well as two other women who are my cousins to be heard by a global audience, one who which spent her childhood in Iran after the revolution. The last interviewee was born in Iran and grew up in New Zealand and has never been back since (approx. 23 years). I plan on identifying what her perspective is and what she thinks of life in Iran after hearing the previous interviews.

The three diverse interpretations through these women from the different age groups will give the audience an idea of how Iran is and was with the different generations.

The title ‘Why Hide When Everyone Can See’ is created to express why clothing in Iran should be a personal choice and not governed by the spiritual leaders. I understand that Iran is an Islamic country where women are compelled to wear a specific garment to comply with law but it should not be explicitly imposed on the citizens due to religion and expecting them to conform to the social norms within that country as it is not freedom.

Furthermore Iranian women are also discriminated against for personal status, which includes marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody. This can be life threatening as they can be mistreated for non-equal rights. Also small infringements such as not covering their hair properly or wearing the right types of clothes can result in imprisonment.

The short animated documentary demonstrates and provides the audience information that is rarely seen in New Zealand media. By communicating the restrictions and the human rights between men and women; it will give the viewer a response as to what the Iranian women want to be heard.

1. Context Discussion:

The key contextual references in my work are tied down to the notion of social action relating to the lack of Iranian women’s rights as well as the inequality between women and men in Iran today. By comparing campaign’s that have been represented by print based media and documentaries on women’s rights it has given me knowledge on what format my project is relevant for. Film based projects are more commanding and authoritative, as shown in my research proposal I conducted at the start of this year.

It’s an inspirational way to send a message to the world and to teach the younger generations in schools about human rights, and what it is exactly, so that the younger generation don’t take their lives for granted, which is the exact message I would want to send to my audience from my documentary/animation on Iranian women’s rights. The stories shown through this website also gives me ideas on what sort of stories my interviewees should mention in my documentary. What I found the most interesting was how human rights is depicted, as there are Youtube videos of animated documentaries about what human rights are and also shows the people that have no freedom in their country because of the democracy.

I used a documented animation format as it will announce my work with a global audience and give them an engaged knowledge on the lack of rights Iranian women have. Women’s rights and social action in my work has provided me an opportunity for three Iranian women to share personal stories and their own perspective relating to the inequity and social awareness between the two genders in Iran. Two of the women reveal the complexities of the lives they lived in Iran from young girl to a grown woman, and the changes the country had to encounter such as the Iranian revolution. Highlighting main ideas that the women had to go through such as the inequality and strict rules that are forced to overcome, from clothing to marriage rights how men have the right to go through divorce at any time and it is quite difficult for women to go through the stages of divorce even if the man has more than one wife (polygamy is legal in Iran), this results in an effective social action my animated documentary communicates.

My work is a thoughtful way to give women of Iran a voice, it is an empowerment role women can adopt to bring about the change in a complex, ever-shifting society. The three women are featured as a diverse mix of ages and social class roots.

The media supplements videotaped and voice recorded interviews, as two women didn’t want to be filmed on camera. The collage format I have conducted include photographs and old videotapes, as well as patterns chosen by the interviewees will be featured as an animated based media.

Through people’s personal stories, we gain a richer understanding of barriers women face, varied goals and strategies to inform the audience about the social change they have faced, and the rewards and challenges of social action.

2. Process:

I had looked into a lot of online research on women’s rights in Iran, as well as using library resources of other Iranian designers and film makers as my first step. To understand Iranian’s women’s rights in a more detailed overview on the situations that is happening in Iran today. This has given me the strategies to ask the questions at the interviews for my documentary, it also provides a clear plan for my final project.

I searched for political design and designs on Middle Eastern women’s rights through an image search. The information gathered included imagery and text; some were typographic designs. I did further research on the images, which were accomplished by going through the website/blogs provided, in which interested my work and me the most. I was mostly looking for the colours used, the illustrative style and the meaning behind it. Tumblr had a variety of blogs that spoke about women’s rights, which has definitely helped me understand and see what sort of reaction or comments people have given about the situation of women’s rights in the Middle East. There weren’t many blogs that focussed particularly on Iranian women’s rights, although I did find one that was very helpful and perfect for my research method. Stand with free Iran’[1] is a blog that is dedicated to speaking out on behalf of those silenced in Iran. It has options for the viewers to ask questions, leave comments or inform them on how people that would like to help the condition in Iran at the moment, this is a great way to interact with the viewers, and it doesn’t include a donation like other campaigns. This is a great way to give the viewer the power of voice for an opinion and the consideration of how they are able to talk in their opinion on the human rights laws in Iran. The information I gathered from this method of online analysis through the websites, made me understand the issues occurring in Iran at the moment.

To support my research I decided to undertake a survey between women and men from different age groups; it was a fundamental choice as it has helped me understand what my audience think rather than the voice of the three Iranian women. The surveys were sent to my Facebook friends, although approximately 20 people participated from a variety of cultures including Iranian women and men sent their entries through. It was also a good idea to give an opportunity for the other people to voice their opinion on what they thought and knew about the other side of the world based upon the media shown in New Zealand. This research method was helpful since the people will appreciate how much freedom they have in New Zealand compared to Iran, and it could show them an understanding of women’s rights. I also included a question of what sort of media output would be suitable for the cause. Documentary/Animation was the dominant option; it was significant to see the amount of people that would rather have a moving image because it is an exceptional way to get the message across.

There were also a few documentaries on how people lived in Iran and what sort of restrictions they had, although this was mostly taken during the Green Movement that occurred in 2009. Witnesses to Green Movement protests often claim that protests of this size have not been seen in Iran since 1979 revolution. The reason for this was that the protesters demanded the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office. Green was initially used as the symbol of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s campaign, but after the election it became the symbol of unity and hope for those asking for annulment of what they regarded as a fraudulent election.[2] Violence struck, the most famous image that gave a face to the violence was a young woman named Neda, she was targeted for no reason.[3] These documentaries had given me knowledge on how Iran was during the Green Movement, hearing what people say inside their homes as they cannot speak for themselves outside or they will be arrested. The students in the universities protest against the governments’ armies (Basiji) to influence freedom in Iran.

I decided to attend two films at the temporary film festival that was screening at the Event Cinemas, Newmarket, Auckland. I decided to go with my mother to watch the films, so that she could also get a fair idea on how documentaries are created and how to answer my questions’ as I would interview her for my documentary that weekend.

I attended the film festivals that related to my subject, such as ‘The Last Days of Winter’ which is filmed during the winter in Tehran. This film helped me gain more understanding on the traditional aspect in Iranian culture. It also shares the lives of a few teenage boys, on what they fear, their hopes reveal that they are no different from other children. The way the film is created was quite informal, the director Mehrdad Oskouei filmed while asking certain questions to the boys. He asked personal questions when he was alone with them to know more about their personality and what sort of wrongs they did. I also observed the style and how the film is created, by concentrating on the use of graphic design and methodology. There wasn’t any animation involved in this, although knowing the storyline did help me understand how Oskouei wanted to connect with the audience.

I also watched ‘A Balloon for Allah’ which is a Norwegian/Turkish film about roles of women in the Muslim culture. It was ideal to watch as it is about a woman that rediscovers Islam by following her grandmother’s path. It also includes a Muslim wife that has never been alone outside during six years of her marriage. There is a sense of connection between patriarchal society and the brutality of women in this film. I enjoyed this film tremendously as I haven’t seen a documentary about Muslim women before. I grew up in New Zealand and understand the ‘Kiwi’ culture more than I understand the Muslim culture. The Director for this film Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen has a great eye to detail, she also knows how to ask questions and interview the right people to get the right answers. She used to send letters to Allah with a balloon when she was a young girl. Now she wants to send a new balloon to change the role of women in the Muslim culture. This is the exact same goal as what I want to achieve for my studio project except the only change would be focussed on the Iranian women in Iran. Surprisingly there was a bit of animation involved in the documentary, which linked to my research. This has helped me tremendously through my research project as it has proven the lack of understanding of Islamic life and religion in Western societies through film based media.

Documentary Research ‘A Balloon for Allah’ by Nefise Özkal Lorentzen

Interviews:

There have been quite a few undergoing changes during my interviewing process. The method I conducted was to interview three women from different age groups to show contrastive perspectives through Iranian women’s rights.

1) Young adult 15-25 years

2) Middle aged woman 26-35 years

3) Older woman 50-60 years.

Asking questions on what they think or know about the situation in Iran focussing on the women’s rights aspect. I asked for permission to film all three as a means to create my documentary, although both of my cousins were too nervous to be filmed, therefore I voice recorded what they had to say and I only filmed my mother. I interviewed them in a comfortable environment (home) to have a calm experience. This will allow me to gather information to view it to Aucklanders and also globally as I will be presenting my documentary to a global background as a festival documentary film. The reason I had to ask for permission for the three women being interviewed, was because it will be shown internationally through a festival film community (Withoutabox).

My first attempt on interviewing my mother (older woman) was quite different to the way I actually wanted to accomplish, because the camera wasn’t high quality. Although it was a good experience and I am glad my mother didn’t mind being in front of the camera. For my next attempt I wanted to have a white background so it is preferable for editing my animation and with a camera that has a much higher resolution. I didn’t want to use a tripod because I wanted the look and feel of the footage to be more natural. This was a turning point for me, as I wanted the people being interviewed to be more about them so that the questions that I’m asking won’t be in the video footage, only their voice.

The second person I had to interview was my cousin Elham (middle aged woman). She struggled to tell her story as she was deciding whether or not she wanted to be in front of the camera. This was one of the issues I came across with the interviewing process, although both of my cousins (middle aged and younger woman) had to be recorded, this was a comfortable approach for them to face. It was quite different for me to interview the women of the various age groups; this had a great outcome, as I wanted the people to be diverse. I chose to interview my cousin who is the youngest cousin that grew up in New Zealand because she has a lot to say about what she thinks about Iran even though she’s never been back to visit before. It was great to hear her opinion on what the laws are like there compared to New Zealand, such as marriage rights, how women require her male guardian’s approval for marriage regardless of her age. An Iranian woman may not obtain a passport or travel outside the country without her husband’s written permission.

Patterns, Colour and Collage:

The colour theme I have chosen are based on my photograph layers that have been taken before and after the revolution in Iran, as well as New Zealand in the 90’s. Throughout my animation there will be a mix between black and white images as well as these chosen colours.

Each person that I have interviewed will have their own colour and pattern palette based on their own representation, like own personality to make it more of a personal matter as they tell their stories. I have provided the “Pattern Palette 4” book as a resource for them to use because it has 950 patterns to choose from and a numerous number of colours that they think embody them.

A collage may sometimes employ different kinds of media and material, including newspaper clippings, ribbons, bits of hand-made coloured paper or texts, photographs and so on. The history of the technique goes back centuries but made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century during an era of momentous technical inventions. Following the explosion in visual technologies, collage found a new life in the world of cinema. Today’s digital revolution has not greatly changed those pioneering collage techniques, although the new tools available have opened up many greater possibilities as far as visual elements go.[5]

I wanted to have a more traditional Iranian feel for the audience, so the musical instrument ‘tar‘ and ‘tombak‘, which are both authentic musical instruments in Iran came to mind immediately.

Outcome:

I used a documented animation format because it will publicise my work with a global audience and give them an engaged knowledge on the lack of rights. Women and social action in my work has provided an opportunity for three Iranian women to share personal stories and their own perspective relating to the inequity and social awareness between the two genders in Iran. Two of the women reveal the complexities of the lives they lived in Iran from young girl to a grown woman, and the changes the country had to encounter such as the Iranian revolution. Highlighting main ideas that the women had to go through such as the inequality and strict rules the are forced to overcome, from clothing to marriage rights how men have the right to go through divorce at any time and it is quite difficult for women to go through the stages of divorce even if the man has more than one wife (this is legal in Iran), this results in an effective social action my animated documentary communicates.

My work is a thoughtful way to give women of Iran a voice, it is an empowerment role women can adopt to bring about the change in a complex, ever-shifting society. The three women are featured as a diverse mix of ages and social class roots. The media supplements with live and videotaped interviews, some recorded and they didn’t want to be filmed on camera, and photographs and old video tapes as well as patterns chosen by the interviewees will be featured as an animated based media.

Through people’s stories, we gain a richer understanding of barriers women face, varied goals and strategies to inform the audience about the social change they have faced, and the rewards and challenges of social action.

Click Here for Downloadable Pdf

Footnotes:

[1] Tumblr. Web. 13 March. 2012. <http://standwithfreeiran.tumblr.com&gt;.

[2] “Green Movement.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Green_Movement.&gt;

[3] “Letters from Iran – Green Movement and freedom for Iranians.” AlJazeera English. 2011. YouTube. 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 25 August. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzNUjiKapOs&gt;

[4] “Feminin Masculin – Iran.” Sadaf Foroughi. 2007. Why Democracy. 8 Oct. 2007. Web. 6 April. 2012. <http://www.whydemocracy.net/film/14&gt;

[5] Ng, Chris. “Much more than just Patchwork.” IdN. 19.4 (2012): 05. Print.

Further Reading:

Zanganeh, Lila Azam. My Sister, Guard Your Veil; My Brother, Guard Your Eyes. New York. Beacon Press. 2006.

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