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Morehshin Allahyari, She Who Sees The Unknown: The Laughing Snake, 2018

She Who Sees The Unknown: The Laughing Snake (2018)

She Who Sees The Unknown: The Laughing Snake is a new online commission for Liverpool Biennial 2018 by Morehshin Allahyari that takes the form of web-based hypertext narrative. The work re-appropriates the story of the Laughing Snake taken from the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Arabic manuscript Kitab al-bulhan (The Book of Wonders). The various myths told about the Laughing Snake, reveal the story of a monstrous figure – some believe an al-Jinn – who has taken over a city and its lands, murdering its people and animals. Over the years there are many attempts at destroying this jinn, but none are successful. One day, hope is sparked when an old man living in a cave comes forth with a revelation: the only way to kill the snake is to hold a mirror in front of her. When people do so, and the snake sees her own image in the mirror and starts laughing. She laughs for days and nights until she self-destroys and dies. Through the re-telling of this story, Allahyari reflects on a series of personal and imagined stories in relation to the female body in the Middle-east, hysteria and re-imagined futures.

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Please be aware this work contains profanity and sensitive content which some people may find offensive.