Ala Ebtekar | Safina

In the titular work Safina, the book is examined not only as an art object, but as a vehicle to complicate notions of inertia and travel between space and time. Safina is an oblong shaped manuscript, containing a compendium of potent knowledge fields: history, philosophy, astronomy, and most often, poetry. Safina’s etymology and current linguistic use leans towards several variants of a vessel designed for transportation: a ship, aircraft and even spacecraft.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is an asymmetrical heptagonal platform that serves as topography for a suite of safinas, newly produced artist books, and never before seen reclaimed materials. Arranged in a manner to form new taxonomies and constellations of meaning, this Safina revisits the existing model, now displaying a new terrain in tandem with new works. As a central contour, with peaks and valleys, Safina gently displays Ala’s long-standing interest in the depiction of space and time. The structure easily could be both fifteenth and twenty-fifth century, as a spaceship simultaneously landed and moving. Culminating altogether past and future, speculative and impending, Safina presents new portals to understanding the potentials of these vessels, as they were physically kept close to the heart, and here an object that travels in and between the most potent of landscapes.