Extraction Out of Frame by Sanaz Sohrabi

January 14–March 2, 2023

Centre Vox, 401 – 2 rue Sainte-Catherine Est
Montréal, QC H2X 1K4


Extraction Out of Frame is the outcome of the artist’s recent research in the archives of British Petroleum during its operations in Iran and broader West Asia. The company played a frontline economic and identity-shaping role in Iran, ushering in a certain ideal of modernity in the country before being nationalized in part. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a newly commissioned essay film titled, Scenes of Extraction (2023), which is the second episode of a trilogy of essay films that unpack the relationship between political economy of photography, archival technologies, and visual history of resource extraction in Iran. The first episode is “One Image, Two Acts” (2020) which has been screened in over two dozen film festivals and has won seven international awards since its world premiere at Montréal International Documentary Film Festival in November 2020.

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Sanaz Sohrabi (b. Tehran) is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist whose work considers visual traces, acts of viewership and their reciprocal dis/reappearances to investigate the impermanence and malleability of archival records and historical narratives. Since 2017, Sohrabi has done extensive archival research at the British Petroleum archives to engage with the history of photography and film practices of the British controlled oil operations in Iran, conducting a visual ethnography of resource extraction in relation to the media infrastructures of BP. Sohrabi’s works have been shown widely in solo and group exhibitions and festivals including: International Film Festival Rotterdam, Iran Cinéma Vérité Festival (Winner of International Mid-length), IndieLisboa (Silvestre Section Best Short Film), Valdivia International Film Festival Chile (Special Jury Mention), Mimesis Documentary Film Festival (Best Documentary Short), Ann Arbor Film Festival (Jury Award), Montréal International Documentary Film Festival (RIDM), Sheffield Doc/Fest, Kasseler Dokfest, Videonale, VideoEX Zurich, FIDBA Argentina, among others. Sohrabi’s recent solo and group exhibitions include SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, VOX Centre de l’image contemporaine, Montréal, Centre Clark, and Carpintarias de São Lázaro, Lisbon. Sohrabi has been supported by fellowships and artist residency awards such as Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, RAW Académie Senegal, SOMA Summer School Ciudad de México, Est-Nord-Est résidence d’artistes, and Vermont Studio Center. Sohrabi received her BFA from Uni­ver­sity of Tehran College of Fine Arts and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a merit scholarship. Sohrabi is a member of the research group “Oil Cultures from the Middle East and Latin America (OCMELA),” with whom she has published a conversation with Murtaza Vali, titled “Petromobilities in the Global South,” released by Museumsforlaget in Norway in March 2022.

Opening reception:
January 19, 2023 at 5:00pm
Alongside the launch of issue 107 – Family of esse art + opinions

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Accessibility Information:
VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine is located at 2 Sainte-Catherine Street East (4th floor) just a few minutes away from the Saint-Laurent metro station.