Fereshteh Toosi

Fereshteh Toosi is a Chicago-based artist working in video, sound, performance, and public intervention. She received a BA from Oberlin College and her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art. Currently, she teaches at Columbia College Chicago and is a Fellow at Archeworks, an alternative design school in Chicago. Fereshteh gives us more information on the development of her latest project, GARLIC & GREENS, and discusses her practice as an artist and educator.

“I am an artist who plays with documentary and non-fiction. My projects may not fit the traditional formats that people are familiar with, but specifically with GARLIC & GREENS, I am documenting and re-presenting voices via a sound recording. There is some element of deception in all documentary. Playing on the fringes of this genre gives me permission to work through my discomfort with documentary.

I’ve never thought about it this way before, but working with my hands in the soil occupies a place that used to be the core of my studio practice. There is a positive energy that emerges from making things and growing things. It seems like gardening, urban homesteading, and artisanal food production are really trendy right now, but it should come as no surprise that people are looking for outlets to do hands-on and object-based activities. I’m spending a lot of time thinking about multisensory experiences, so the intersections are quite present for me. The internet provides the illusion that you are collaborating and communicating with the world, but the sensations it is capable of creating are quite dull, or at least, not very diverse.[space size=”10px”

In my installation and sculptural work, the environments have included sounds, smells, and altered lighting or temperature. So making art that addresses multiple senses is not something that is new to me, but thinking about it in terms of accessibility for GARLIC & GREENS is something altogether different. Audience participation has been a part of a lot of my projects, but thinking more practically about accessibility forces a heightened awareness about the individual needs of the participant.”