ZEFAK (Aria Farajnezhad, Elard Lukaczik, Zainab Haidary) as a collective body started their practice in a project space in the winter of 2018, by facilitating lectures outside the body of Hochschule für Künste Bremen, inviting individual artists for collaboration, and organizing numerous group exhibitions from April 2018 till September 2018.
In April 2020, the collective was awarded a residency scholarship at Künstlerhäuser Worpswede. Deploying a diversity of strategies and hybrid methods at Worpswede, ZEFAK created a space to navigate temporal and spatial negotiations on the theme of justice in its broadest sense, thereby destabilizing the dichotomies of self/other, human/non-human, culture/nature, etc. The collective’s practices consist of writing, performing, and animating its critical reflections on the current global power structures; reshaping institutional spaces and providing interdisciplinary platforms for local artists, activists, and researchers to engage in unfamiliar dialogues on familiar subjects; and documenting, archiving, and sharing resources online to captivate a potential translocal audience with an ongoing imagination, allowing for conversations of a just future to take place.
In their contribution to the Association for Art History’s Annual Conference 2021 in the UK, ZEFAK advocated for the recognition of non-disciplinary practices within traditional art history. Through an introductory presentation entitled We want everything “neerg” back, the collective requested urgent intervention, reparations, and compensation within the art world and beyond. Following the performative piece, they presented a video essay, Another Way of Arrival (2021), in which green stands for a visual element and simultaneously, a pathway to meaning. With the satirical and metaphorical language used in their works, ZEFAK invites the audience to reflect on the thorny questions of history and representation. *
In December 2021 Zefak was invited by Stadtgalerie Saarbruecken and MM, M, upon which they developed Where the River resides (you could find in the link a short documentary series by Philipp Majer), a work-in-progress video installation, informed and provisioned by the water nearby hard coal mining pits that Zefak has pulled out and carried to the studio to be accommodating a moving image narrative. The water was, later on, brought back to the Saar river with the labor offered by the audience visiting the closing event, through which they have collectively carried the water while engaging in a conversation about the degree of affectedness when it comes to resource extraction upon different local and temporal scales.
* contributed by Azadeh Sarjougian