Video: The Ghost and the Flesh a Lecture by Morehshin Allahyari

On December 5, 2019 Plug In ICA and The Institute for the Humanities, University of Manitoba presented “The Ghost and The Flesh”, a lecture by Morehshin Allahyari as part of “Labour of Love: On Digital Economies in the Arts”, a series of lectures, screenings, and workshops.

Allahyari’s work and thinking are critically leading international conversations on digital colonialism. She is well-known for her 3-D printed works that reshape and reclaim lost Iranian and other Middle-Eastern artworks and artefacts destroyed by occupations and war. Her new body of work, She Who Sees the Unknown, takes up the notion of “re-figuring” as a feminist and decolonialist practice. Researching female monsters, jinn (anglicised as genies) and dark goddesses of Middle-Eastern origin, Allahyari devises narratives through practices of magic and poetic-speculative storytelling, re-appropriation of traditional mythologies, collaging, meshing, scanning, and archiving. For her presentation at Plug In, Allahyari discussed the intense research and the invisible labour of digital and technological tools, focusing specifically on archiving, 3D modeling, digital fabrication, and re-figuring current digital narratives in relationship to her artwork.

Morehshin Allahyari (b. 1985 in Tehran, Iran) is a media artist, activist, educator, and curator. She has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops around the world including the Venice Biennale di Archittectura; the New Museum, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Pompidou Center, Paris; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal; Tate Modern, London; Queens Museum; Dallas Museum of Art; and Museum für Angewandte Kunst. She has been an artist in residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts (2013); Carnegie Mellon University’s STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, Pittsburgh (2015); Autodesk Pier9 Workshop, San Francisco (2015); the Vilém Flusser Residency Program for Artistic Research in association with Transmediale, Berlin (2016); Eyebeam Research Residency, New York (2016-2017); Pioneer Works, Brooklyn (2018); and Harvest Works, New York (2018). Allahyari’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Wired, Parkett Art Magazine, Frieze, and Hyperallergic. Her work has been covered by the BBC, NPR and Al Jazeera, among other news outlets. She is the recipient of the leading global thinkers of 2016 award by Foreign Policy magazine. Her 3D Additivist Manifesto video is in the collection of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and recently she has been awarded major commissions by Rhizome, New York; the New Museum; The Whitney Museum of American Art; the Liverpool Biennale, and FACT, London, to work on developing different components of her current project She Who Sees The Unknown.

Labour of Love or LOL took the “public course” as a platform for engagement, a program highlighting the various ways in which the digital is interrogated, explored, celebrated, pushed to its limit, reworked, re-invented by artists, scholars, curators, writers and others. LOL encompassed a full array of events, delving into such topics as coding, circuit bending, VR, AI and AR, gaming, scanning, and 3D printing. Divided into two streams, a lecture and screening series, and workshops, Labour of Love at its most general examined the relationship between the economics of labour and the digital arts as it contends with the conditions of racial capitalism. As a research platform, we aimed to build an understanding of the digital by presenting artists who invent new trajectories through various technologies.

All lectures and screenings are free and open to the public.

Associated Programming:

Labour of Love: On Digital Economies in the Arts

This program was made possible through the Digital Strategy Fund: Digital and Intelligence by the Canada Council for the Arts.