The Myth of Layla
Performative Video Installation, 2014-ongoing
Commissioned as a solo exhibition and series of performances at Mana Contemporary and NURTUREart in 2016, TMOL received a Rema Hort Mann Artist Community Engagement Grant, Creative Capital On Our Radar Award, and a Watermill Center and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Residency. Partially funded through Kickstarter. Featured on VICE's The Creators Project and Hyperallergic. Exhibition text by Brooklyn Museum Curator Carmen Hermo available here.
The Myth of Layla is a SciFi allegory about political ideology, celebrity-obsessed media, and an Iranian-American activist named Layla based on Khoshbin's personal history. Set in a not-too-distant future, a big-brother media conglomerate called The Network runs the US government and is at war with fictionalized Middle Eastern country akin to Iran. The leader of The Network (The Host) is a reality show host who employs media-manipulation tactics such as fear of the Other, violence, and propaganda presented as reasonable safety-measures. The Host invites Layla and audience members to participate on their new reality show, Activists in Sexy Solidarity (ASS). Taking satirical cues from the absurd structues of reality TV, Khoshbin presents a backdrop of projected videos and outrageous colorful costumes and banners. Viewers become part of the piece, captured by running cameras and screened during the performance and installation. Khoshbin creates a dramatic parallel universe that – vividly demonstrating the dangers of media control and the necessity of questioning content consumption – echoes America's contemporary socio-political state. At Mana Contemporary, the piece was Directed by Morgan Green, Dramaturgy by Yuliya Tsukerman, Performed by Amy Khoshbin, Maxwell Cosmo Cramer, Ryann Weir, Kenny Rivero, and Kristianne Molina, Cinematography by Jessica Gardner, Videography by Azikiwe Mohammed and Matthew Kohn, Lighting Design by Tuce Yasak, and Sound Design by Michael Clemow.