Anna Ehrenstein’s work is as much an ode to the muslim femme cyborg as it is auto-biographical. Sparked by the delusion of solidarity through networked protests in the West after the Iranian 'Woman, life, freedom!' demonstrations in 2022, she materialized her orientalist avatar she uses in physical and virtual performances.
The symbol of the veil is often employed in her work as a metaphoric screen for the political projections muslim femmes reflect back towards multiple patriarchies. "Projection Screens reflect the projected image from a projector and make it visible." Part of her research on networked images and the processes of “mattering”; processes that fold matter upon meaning within our ever more intensely medialized societies; she juxtaposed imagery from 18th century French Orientalist painting to snippets from contemporary US-american “hijab porn”.
The short video work looped within the hijabs phone traces the historical roots of present day algorithmic constructions of power and contrasts it with the queer gender ideals of the 13th century sufi poet Ibn Arabi. Photographs of women used to justify Western imperialism in the Middle East are placed in proximity with text and imagery of female muslim academics. A long history of women’s achievements within the Islamic world is shown in the figure of Fatima al-Fihri – the founder of al-Qarawiyyin in 859 A.D. in the city of Fez, which today is considered the oldest university in the world. Fatima’s figure is presented as an amulet against the evil eye and the weaponization of the muslim femme cyborg, by the will of God.