“(S)he is the (wo)man who, having found Allah’s Self-disclosure in each and every indivisible moment, worships and surrenders to the One Who IS the moment.” ~ Sufi Wisdom, after Ali El-Senossi
“Neen, which by coincidence in old Greek means “exactly now, not a second later” was a controversial name (in a moment in art history, it was invented in 2002). Only a few people, felt that it was proper to call themselves Neenstars and what they do Neen, and this was because most of us, myself included, we are doing still a lot of TELIC. Our times, are Telic. But we want to see more Neen happening. Lets define Telic: (…) Telic is our relationship with the tools which help us design the World and see things in a perspective. (…) Neen however is miracles. ~ Miltos Manetas on Telic & Neen
To sum it up, Neen means “exactly now, not a second later” and describes the ad-hoc and flux ways of creative expression and production the internet brought onto us. Telic however means one does things in a static, complex, academic, planned and methodical manner.
I never wanted to be a Neenstar, but realized years after my girlfish work got on the net (in 2001) and was declared “Neen” that my work is very Neen indeed and that I am very Neen and that all of live is actually very Neen (if you dare to change your perspective). The love for the now was from the very onset of life with me. This love for the moment is within all of us. The child in us lives in a Neen-Now world and yearns for wonderful moments. The now of the moment is the miracle of everything. Only by not caring about cliches, etiquettes and expectations can we step into Neen as adults. Eating too much ice cream can be Neen, sitting in the grass and wondering about the clouds can be Neen. Being self-less can be Neen. Being unburdened from the allegded requirements of adulthood certainly aids Neen and allows us to see it when Neen happens. Not knowing how to survive the next day, that too can be Neen.
The fever of life is within every cell of us and it lives in the wonderful world of millions of coincidences that are not really coincidences, but perfect design. But whose design? I am in love with this world of coincidence and constant change, in which every moment is unique and can illuminate completely unknown territories. Art that can talk about this floats differently. Out of this love and it’s first manifestion in girlfish’s animated pieces more ideas evolved in time via my path into Islamic mysticism.
With girlfish I created something that completely surprised me at first because I had no idea what it is supposed to be and where it came from within me. Is it butterflies? Insects? Flowers? I had no idea, so I called it “Rise and Shine, Parvaneh (Persian for Butterfly). I created my very first Neen piece of art right on 9/11. Really. So what is this? These are emerging new forms of art, glittering, floating, unfolding, enfolding, changing, moving. Something new is happening here, and it started to emerge on that nasty day in 2001. Rise & Shine. Am I trying to bring something beautiful into hideous politics? Perhaps. I was certainly thinking about the nature of the art that is flux – in constant change and submiting itself to the moment – versus the art that aims to be constant. But I was also not thinking at all. I was dreaming away and just felt something emerging that refused to be bound by any definitions. Yet, there is also something tragic in all of this. The politics of the time has created many displaced and traumatised people who have indeed no permanence and who literally have to live from moment to moment. Paul Auster has described this state of traumatized “crunch” living beautifully in his novel Sunset Park. Yes, there is plenty within the folds of Islamic mysticism that appeals to every artist who reflects on the nature of being, artistic expression and creation and I can not praise Islamic teachings high enough for their ability to help people to live and survive in beauty. Islamic mysticism taught me the art of living, surviving and seeing – these three abilities are intimately inter-twined.
Mysticism for me is the most Neen form of living and working and approaching live & art because the mystic is able to accept the struggle of life. A mystic can accept to move beyond the ego, embrace the unknown in all it’s complexity, and invites miracles and surprises. A mystic moment led me to Neen, and then Neen led me into mysticsm, and then mysticsm led me back to Neen. This means for me – 15 years later – that Islamic mystcism and Neen art are a marriage made in heavenly tragic moments. Now I am Bint al-Waqt, a daughter of the moment, a Neen Mystic of the early 21st Century.