As an extension of my graduate studies in immersive media, I created a series of installation environments featuring animated Persian mandalas projected into and onto architecture through videomapping techniques.
Videomapping is a new media technique that superimposes multimedia content such as video and animation onto physical structures or objects in the real world. Using a software I designed myself called 'ILLUZTRATOR', I create hand-drawn mandala art and subsequently animate them using digital tools. These animations are projected onto walls, domes, or objects in order to create a sense of total video immersion.
Variations of this project have been exhibited at the Emerging Technology and Art Gallery at SIGGRAPH Asia (Hong Kong), the New Forms Festival (Vancouver), Science and Nonduality Conference (San Rafael), and the Computational Aesthetics Conference (Vancouver). The mandala animations were also integrated into live concert visuals for international recording artists Azam Ali and Niyaz for their global tour.
My graduate thesis project was an architectural scale immersive environment deployed at the Burning Man Festival. The dome project was erected on the inhospitable Black Rock Desert playa, and featured 360˚ visuals, surround sound audio, and vibroacoustic foam beds. Musicians and performers from a multitude of sacred world music traditions were invited to use the installation as a ceremonial concert space, as well as to conduct workshops on yoga, meditation and music.
The project was realized through collaboration with Adil Kassam of Elevate Films (Los Angeles), the Red Lightning collective, and Dr. Diane Gromala, my graduate supervisor. The installation was incredibly well received on the playa, and was the subject of my Masters dissertation entitled: Sacred Media – The Immersive Aesthetics of Technosacred Space.
As part of my graduate studies, I created a Java-based drawing software called ILLUZTRATOR. The application was designed with the intent to mimic styles of light painting (a style of open shutter photography using moving light sources) and Middle Eastern calligraphy. It was later expanded to support user-defined geometric drawing modes.
The software makes use of 'alogirthmic brushes' that are affected by physical parameters such as momentum and angular velocity, much like a loaded spring in motion. This approach to drawing intensifies the performativity within the act of sketching and creates a huge range of achievable styles and aesthetics, often from the same brush.
Illuztrator was showcased at the School of Interactive Art + Technology (Simon Fraser University), the Computational Aesthetics Conference, and Earth Dance Vancouver, just to name a few. It has since became an important tool in my artistic repertoire, and is central to The Mandala Project. I hope to continue to improve the tool and release it commercially in the future.
After completing my Masters degree at Simon Fraser University, I created a visual art exhibition entitled 'MIRAJ: Sketches of Paradise'. I approached this show with the intention to strip away the complexity of 'new media' and get back to the basics of my first love: drawing.
Using a graphics tablet and computational tools I designed myself, I explored various modes of drawing including vector illustration and what I call 'computational sketching'. My idea was to demonstrate the complexity which can arise from utterly simple drawing gestures, as well as the simplicity that may arise from seemingly complex drawing methods.
The centrepiece of the show was a Persian rug illustration that was etched into a 24 square foot slab of Bianca Neve white marble. The piece entitled 'The Secret Realm' featured an engraved Persian rug I designed digitally, based on the Shah Abassi style of carpets from Qom, Iran. Engraving an ephemeral work of digital art into the cold, solid base of marble was a perfect expression of my interest of the intersection between traditional forms of art and modern digital technology.
The exhibition was held at the Catalog Gallery in Vancouver, and was subsequently held over for 6 weeks due to demand.
As an extension of my explorations of vector illustration, I create layered 3D artworks using a variety of digital fabrication techniques. The style of these artworks play on the perceptual nuances of how the brain perceives colour and form, and then intensifies a false sense of depth through the extrusion of the layers from the surface of the artwork. The result is a dynamic piece that is different from every viewing angle.
I completed over 30 different artworks in this style over several years, primarily as commissions by private collectors. Among my collectors are Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Stephen Marley and Damien Marley, RZA, DJ Tiesto, just to name a few.
Combining two of my favourite forms of art – Persian traditional music with bass music – I established a music imprint called MURDA|MUDRA, as an outlet for my explorations in sound design. Our first release, SAGE Vol. 1, was a 4-track EP which cast light on the spontaneous and turbulent confrontation between electronic bass music and Middle Eastern soundscape. Drawing on a wide array of influences, I curated a selection of ethnic bass music featuring offerings from risk-taking electronic musicians and digital artists. I also co-produced a track with Mark Nazemi under the moniker 'Mount Qaf'.
The compilation was well received and featured on several music blogs including Nada Brahma Music (UK), and Conscious Bass Music (USA).