Beshkan (Breakdown) 2013

As a traditional form of celebration throughout Middle Eastern countries, the “Persian snap” (beshkanبشكن) uses both hands to create a cracking/clicking sound familiar to the normal (Western ‘single-handed’) clicking or snapping of the fingers. Historically, throughout the region when there is happy news to celebrate for any family or group of people the immediate reaction is beshkan.

While this joyous ‘dance’ of double-handed finger snapping (celebrates) happiness (and a good news) in those particular cultures to the unknowing viewer this visual performance of hands and fingers might be construed as something quite the contrary (opposite), seemingly aggressive and sinister. What visually can be viewed to one culture as the (celebration) of (happiness) can conjure images from a Western (perspective) of children playing war games. Thus the inherent contradiction and ambiguity of the action can never be separated from each other.

Production Stills

Detail (Hand Stills)