Student Spotlight: Yasi Alipour

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The Student Spotlight series aims to highlight the work of current MFA students, asking them to share thoughts on their practice by answering curated and peer-submitted questions. Yasi Alipour is a first-year student in the Visual Arts Program.

What themes or subjects are you currently addressing in your work?
Poetics of political despair and the possibility of a think tank, without an agenda, a think tank without hope, or just a think tank without self confidence. Wonder if it would be just an empty space to be with all the current anxieties. Seems to me to be the only possible answer to the weight of the world today. Have been trying to make that space.

What materials do you work with?

What is challenging your practice right now?
Time, uncertainty, and wrong papers.

What artist or work of art do you find yourself returning to and why?
Walid Raad’s Appendix XVIII: Plate 101_A History of Indices (2009), and  Wael Shawky's trilogy Cabaret Crusades (2010-2015)

Both pieces, equally playful and absurd, deal with the obsession for historical explanations and the impossibility of sharing one's othered national culture. But the approaches are vastly different. Raad's comes from the head, it's smart, quick, and funny and the idea stays with you; Shawky takes his time with the details and gives you a seductive world, so it's an inescapable space to think. Been swinging in between trying to figure out my own approach. And then I think I miss Pina Bausch.

Your peers ask: Who is your favorite rapper?
Zedbazi! Learn Farsi and Enjoy.

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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.