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Material, Pneuma, Moment, and Memory
Ashkan Zahraei and Mina Masoumi

11 days to the ending

26 May - 20 Jun, 2023

Material, Pneuma, Moment, and Memory


Material, Pneuma, Moment, and Memory

A Collaboration between Ashkan Zahraei and Mina Masoumi

With every loss, there blossoms more volume to take in the absences in everyone’s lives, but there is more to the voids within our world than we can ever see, and there is more than we can ever imagine, map, and navigate. “Material, Pneuma, Moment, and Memory” started as an exploration into an idea stemming from looking backward, not just into the past, but also into a world we assumed we left behind.///


Only things lost or hidden need to be searched for, but once one loses the general ability to locate their position or navigate through a path, or once the limits one has set to their world are lost, defining the search becomes itself the quest.

To a fellow traveler in a lesser-explored universe, a map would present a pictorial view of the outside world along with its limits, terrains, paths, flora, legends, and dangers. To a stranger you meet on the way, your mapped-out world could mean a different realm and your preset limits could mean a tangled path.

Material, Pneuma, Moment, and Memory” explores the notion of curiosity by building a magical path from the ground up: it was initiated by Ashkan as a way to tie the literature of the past with the idea of holding a belief system that ties the past to the future.

Magic rituals, talismans, maps, accounts of hidden roads and lands, the faith in words and their powers, and solitude of walking on an unknown path, guided the way into his writing of a discovery: that there lies a spring on the back of one’s head, in the Qafiyeh, impossible to see but laying bare to drink from.

And then, it was a resonating loop of sound bits coming together to form the repeating pattern of crystals and droplets, convergingly streaming their movements into that spring. And “we must find it over the rhymes, cascading form behind our necks”.

Material, Pneuma, Moment, and Memory” is born out of a quest and the chronicle of a journey. Traveling across the unknowns, the guiding force remains a firm belief in an unrevealed source. The text, despite its warnings and cautionary allusions, opens abruptly and invites in. Ashkan’s writing lays out a six-part foundation for references to the power of words and numbers, each containing a set of eighteen.

A looping instruction accompanies the six tables, promising that once you are entirely lost in the journey, you are trodding on the right path, and the more you feel misled and misplaced, the more you have accessed the underlying impossible passages.

The words and the journey fuse and interflow, revealing an eye and a light, laying bare the four elements of material, pneuma, moment, and memory.


The text longed for corporeality, and that was itself a journey of exploration of discovery: through a long-term collaboration with Mina, following months of research, drafting and scripting, the writings found their way into form.

Using a variety of calligraphic hands and scripts such as Nastaliq, Shekasteh Nastaliq, Ruq’ah, Thulth, Naskh, using different sizes and styles of traditional reed pens, and through variations and novel configurations, Mina developed a unique style in combining scripts, numerals, geometry, shape, and structure.

Through a collaborative process, the combinations and configurations were turned into compositions that embodied the entirety of the magical path, the outlook, the journey, the travel diary, dangers, cautions, and dead ends.

To accommodate for the expression of all the interconnecting paths within the text, the script was gradually modeled as two large two-tone maps, a map of dimensions and a map of altitude, with instructions and reference tables marked on their backsides in monotone.

Initiated in 2021 by curator and author Ashkan Zahraei, the initial part of “Material, Pneuma, Moment, and Memory” launches as printed editions of the two maps, following over a year of collaboration with artist and calligrapher Mina Masoumi.

An ongoing exploration, “Material, Pneuma, Moment, and Memory” will continue with further collaborations with Mina as well as others, and upcoming presentations.


  • -  Mina Masoumi
  • -  Ashkan Zahraei