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The Foreigner
The Foreigner: Mahtab

The Foreigner: Mahtab  Jon Rubin with Felipe Castelblanco | 2013 | poster | courtesy of the artists

The Foreigner: Amir

The Foreigner: Amir  Jon Rubin with Felipe Castelblanco | 2013 | poster | courtesy of the artists

The Foreigner: Walter

The Foreigner: Walter  Jon Rubin with Felipe Castelblanco | 2013 | poster | courtesy of the artists

The Foreigner: Zohreh

The Foreigner: Zohreh  Jon Rubin with Felipe Castelblanco | 2013 | poster | courtesy of the artists

The Foreigner: Kole

The Foreigner: Kole  Jon Rubin with Felipe Castelblanco | 2013 | poster | courtesy of the artists

The Foreigner: Lydia

The Foreigner: Lydia  Jon Rubin with Felipe Castelblanco | 2013 | poster | courtesy of the artists

Photo Catalogue

Everyday Clevelanders will function as real-time local avatars for Iranians overseas. Through simple, mobile technology each Cleveland avatar will be connected live to an Iranian citizen. The Iranian will then speak only to the avatar (through an ear piece) and direct them in who to approach and what to say, as they walk through various public spaces. In this way citizens of Cleveland will be introduced to someone who is currently living in an entirely different cultural circumstance through the body of a local citizen right in front of them.

The Iranian citizens and Cleveland avatars have been selected from all walks of life, from children to seniors. Therefore it will be possible for a local teenage girl to be the avatar for a 53-year-old Iranian woman or a 9-year-old Iranian girl can speak through a 60-year-old Cleveland man.

The Foreigner presents an uncanny circumstance where the separation between self and other, local and foreign, is collapsed and confused, and the geopolitical distance between the United States and Iran is made personal and local.

Events with Avatars

Friday, February 1, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.: Opening Reception at SPACES
Saturday, February 2, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Tower City Center
Saturday, February 9, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Cleveland Public Library, Main Branch
Saturday, February 16, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Cleveland Public Library, Main Branch
Saturday, March 9, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Cleveland Public Library, Main Branch
Saturday, April 6, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: TBA

About the Artists

Felipe Castelblanco

Felipe Castelblanco, born in 1985, is a Colombian/American interdisciplinary artist working at the intersection of socially engaged and new media art. Through urban interventions, video, and networked installations, his work creates participatory experiences of publicness and coexistent -if sometimes contentious- encounters. Most recently, he has constructed an invisible wall connecting... go to artist page

Jon Rubin

Jon Rubin creates interventions into public life that reinvent social and political conditions and create new platforms for agency, participation, and exchange. His projects include starting a radio station in an abandoned steel town that only plays the sound of an extinct bird, running a barter-based nomadic art school, and... go to artist page

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