Performance: It is Only Sound That Remains
It Is Only Sound That Remains is a live, sound theatre performance, held in the dark, from a script that Shahrzad Arshadi, a Core Member of Concordia's Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, wrote about her introduction to the life of Montreal photojournalist Zahra "Ziba" Kaemi after Kaemi's tragic death at the hands of Iranian authorities in the summer of 2003.
Attendees enter a dimly lit space and sit a comfortable, living-room-like space decorate with Iranian carpets, pillows, and couches. Tea and homemade Iranian cookies are served. Sounds play softly in the space. After everyone is settled, the lights go out.
The play begins with the beautiful sounds of a Santor (Iranian instrument) played by Iranian master musician, Ardavan Kamkar. After a little while, we hear a voice. It is Ziba. She joins us through her old recordings. It is an invocation of her spirit that exists beyond our visual realm.
Sounds of archival conversations and audio recordings of her life, music, and conversations with her four-year old son Stephan (Salman) are mixed with professional actors reading from the script. These private moments, heard by an audience immersed in darkness, allow each person to draw an image of this living, breathing woman and her life in their mind's eye, coming into the intimate sphere of a woman whose life became very public only after her death. A living document is created. Sound and language have no boundaries in this performance.
This event is free and open to the public. It is part of the Public Launch of the Oral History Association's conference Oral History in Our Challenging Times, hosted by Concordia University's Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling. The event brings together established researchers in universities and public history institutions, community-based oral historians, media and arts organizations, Concordia graduate students, and independent professionals.