Production Still, Soliloquy, 1999, Copyright Shirin Neshat, Courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York
"Soliloquy returns to the problematic theme of exilic identity. Here again – perhaps for the last time – I have made myself the protagonist and the subject of my own inquiry. Through the opposition of East and West, modern and traditional, displacement and memory, Islam and Christianity, biography and history, Soliloquy aims to offer a glimpse into the experience of a divided self in need of repair. The subject is shown standing at the threshold of two worlds, apparently tormented in one but excluded from the other.
I filmed Soliloquy in Turkey and the United States, and aimed at a careful treatment of architecture; buildings become important emblems that represent each culture's political and religious ideology. And in the evocation of memory as fundamentally elusive, I aimed to comment on the fragmentary experience of a postmodern life in which perceptions of boundaries and borders are rapidly collapsing through the combined influence of media, trade and travel. In this context, Islam and Christianity seem to stand an equal chance, but both ultimately fail to offer appropriate homage. Again, flight - the refusal to be homebound, the refusal to accept the safety of familiar territory – seems to be the only solution." Shirin Neshat