The Myth of Layla (TMOL), 2016
HD Video, TRT- 5:43, color, sound
The Myth of Layla (TMOL) is a participatory multimedia performance and installation about political ideology, celebrity-obsessed media, and an Iranian-American activist named Layla based on Khoshbin’s personal history. TMOL is set in a near future when a big-brother media conglomerate called The Network runs the US government and is at war with Iran. The leader of The Network is a reality show host, similar to our President-Elect, who employs media-manipulation tactics such as fear of the Other, violence, and propaganda as reasonable safety-measures. The Host of The Network invites Layla and audience members to participate on their new reality show, Activists in Sexy Solidarity (ASS), which is the set for the performative installation. Taking satirical cues from the absurd structures of reality TV, Khoshbin presents a backdrop of projected videos and outrageous color costumes and banners. Viewers become part of the piece as audience members on ASS: they are captured by running cameras, screened during the performance, and edited into reality show videos afterwards. TMOL creates a parallel universe that—vividly demonstrating the dangers of media control and the necessity of questioning content production and consumption—echoes America’s contemporary socio-political state.
TMOL has been exhibited as a solo exhibition and series of performances at Mana Contemporary, NURTUREart and The Watermill Center, and is a recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Artist Community Engagement Grant and Creative Capital’s On Our Radar. At Mana Contemporary, the piece was Directed by Morgan Green, Dramaturgy by Yuliya Tsukerman, Performed by Amy Khoshbin, Maxwell Cosmo Cramer, Ryann Weir, Kenny Rivero, and Kristianne Molina, Cinematography by Jessica Gardner, Videography by Azikiwe Mohammed and Matthew Kohn, Lighting Design by Tuce Yasak, and Sound Design by Michael Clemow.
For more information, visit tinyscissors.com.
Amy Khoshbin is an Iranian-American Brooklyn-based artist merging performance, video, collage, costume and sound to examine our individual and collective compulsion to create, transform, and sometimes destroy the stories of who we are, who we think we are, and who we think we should be. She produces media and mythologies using humor and a handmade aesthetic to throw a counterpunch at the high-definition, profit-generating codes and signals that American audiences are trained and accustomed to consuming. She has shown her solo and collaborative work at venues such as Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Abrons Arts Center, Mana Contemporary, NURTUREart, National Sawdust, The Invisible Dog Arts Center, and festivals such as River to River and South by Southwest. She is currently in residence at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Residency 2016-17, and has completed residencies at The Watermill Center, Mana Contemporary- where she curated a group of 12 artists for the BSMT Residency, LMCC’s Workspace Residency 2014-16, Banff Centre for the Arts, Team Effort! in Glasgow, Scotland, and at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has received a Rema Hort Mann Artist Community Engagement Grant and is on Creative Capital’s On Our Radar for her recent project, The Myth of Layla. Khoshbin has bachelor’s degrees in Film and Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. She has collaborated with Laurie Anderson, Karen Finley, Tina Barney, and poets Anne Carson and Bob Currie among others.