Ali Akbar Mehta

I create immersive cyber archives that map narratives of history, memory, and identity through a multifocal lens of violence, conflict, and trauma. Such archival mappings – as drawings, paintings, new media works, net-based projects, poems, essays, and theoretical texts, as well as performances both of bodies and networks – are rooted in datafeminist, posthumanist critical theories of making visible hegemonic power relations and silenced historical materialism.

In my current capacity as a Doctoral Candidate at Aalto University, my research titled ‘Practicing Online Performativity: Constructing Politically Conscious Archives for the Future’ investigates (infra)structural and performative relations between online archives and its users by exploring how visual cultures and the art field interact with other fields and systemic conditions such as globalisation, consent-based democratic frameworks, financialisation, socio-political regimes, and histories of material & systemic repression.

My work as performances, installations and talks have been exhibited in galleries and alternative spaces in Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Helsinki, Tampere, Pori, Venice, Nova Gorica, Vienna, Fiskars, Turku, Vantaa, and Mantta. Several of my projects, such as 256 Million Colours of Violence, Ballad of the Lost Utopian Meadow, Central Park Archives, and Outsiders at Work, exist as permanent ongoing online archives.

I am a co-founder of Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki, an anti-racist queer feminist project, and was its Co-Artistic Director (2018-2020). I currently serve on the boards of TKOK ry (2021-), Frame Contemporary Art Finland (2021-) and Kiila ry (2019-, chairperson 2021); a research member of the Cluster of Critical Artistic Research (CCARE), a founding member of MAS, a workgroup dedicated to developing institutional antiracism and DEI best practices. I hold a BFA (Drawing & Painting) from Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, and an MA (Visual Culture, Curating, and Contemporary Art) from Aalto University, Helsinki.

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