Steps to the Moon

Gita Hashemi, 1997

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Steps to the Moon, 1997
Steps to the Moon, 1997

Steps to the Moon documents the efforts by two Iranian women, one in isolation in Iran and the other in exile in Canada, to rebuild their friendship using the internet - which at the time was only recently accessible through universities - as a space and vehicle for communication. Parallel to this, the sitemaker, also an Iranian woman, turns her gaze inward to document her own memories as they surface through working on the project. Combining the personal, the political and the poetic, Steps to the Moon is about two women, three collaborators and four presences in a hyperspace.

Steps to the Moon raised important questions about the politics of cyber technology as the barriers of language (predominantly English at the time), access (quite limited at the time even in the "first world"), and surveillance (endemic across the global networks) manifested themselves in the process. Primarily intended as a project to facilitate personal healing through the work of reconstructing and speaking of a difficult shared history, Steps to the Moon also highlighted the tensions between the private and the public, the personal and the political because of the opressive/repressive conditions that inform the shaping of these dichatomies in Iran and in the West.

The project came to a halt when the collaborator in Iran, a university student, lost her internet priviledges. The friends, however, continued their dialogue through other means and, eventually, with the availability of internet access beyond university domains in Iran, established e-mail connection again. Steps to the Moon is a snapshot of a short period in their life, and in the life of the internet, presented as a historical record.

First exhibited at InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre in Toronto as part of WebWeavers, this project is also archived in Rhizome ArtBase.