Shirin Neshat

The Fury
Virtual Reality Artwork


Shirin Neshat’s haunting new virtual reality work and video installation is a fictionalized account of the effect of imprisonment and torture on a young Iranian woman. During the 16 minute long double-channel video we follow the psychological and emotional state of a woman, who lives in the horrors of her past. Although she now lives freely and is walking down the streets of Brooklyn, she remains haunted by memories of sexual assault, torture, and rape. Throughout the entrancing and fragmented narrative Neshat poignantly addresses the issue of the female body as both an object of desire and violence. The Fury is a riveting mix of cinematic real time, flashbacks, and dream visions, where Neshat uses music and dance to process and convey the protagonist’s trauma.

The virtual reality work captures one pivotal scene of The Fury in an all-encompassing 3D effect. It places us inside the room where the protagonist experienced her assault, and we almost feel the physical and emotional brutality ourselves. The work explores how VR can expand and amplify the characteristically exotic, breathtaking, and at the same time completely unfreezing imagery that characterizes Neshat’s works. Several of Neshat’s cinematic works contain a desire to involve the viewer both physically and emotionally and her new VR work will further contribute to this. Shot in June 2022, The Fury is unsettling and complex. It captures the zeitgeist foreboding sense of doom and the dread of witnessing the possibility of the rise of fascism once again. While The Fury can be viewed as the continuation of Neshat’s exploration of the female body in the context of theocratic politics and gender apartheid of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Its consequential unfolding in New York City is, however, to drive home its international charge. The video installation references two classic cinematic works of the post-war era, Pasolini’s Salo and Liliana Cavani’s The Night Porter, to warn viewers against a reductionist identity reading.

In her work, Neshat continuously tackles the issues of power and suppression of women yet never succumbed to portraying women as victims. In The Fury, Neshat’s female protagonist’s silent scream is caught like a virus through empathy. It is a pain that is known, felt, and shared. It is the fury against power everywhere, encircling people.

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