Archaeology of the Final Decade
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What determines if heritage is preserved or lost? Vali Malhouji will be in conversation with Irit Rogoff to discuss Archaeology of the Final Decade, his curatorial project to excavate the remains of two acts of cultural destruction in post revolutionary Iran, a festival banned for cultural decadence and a photo archive of Tehran’s red-light district.
Archæology of the Final Decade is an ongoing research, curatorial and educational platform set up in 2010, which identifies, investigates and re-circulates significant cultural and artistic materials that have remained obscure, under-exposed, endangered, banned or in some instances destroyed. The retracing and reintegration of these materials into cultural memory and discourse, counteracts the damages of censorship and systemic erasures, and fills in gaps in history and art history.
For Recreating the Citadel the project represents the Prostitute series (1975-1977) from the prolific Iranian documentary photographer Kaveh Golestan and his photographs from the Citadel of Shahr-e No, the red light ghetto of Tehran, which was set on fire shortly after the revolution in 1979 and demolished shortly after. The photographs, unseen 1978 are being used as a point of departure, alongside diary entries, news clippings and audio interviews to look at organised sex work during this period in Tehran.
Looking at Festival of the Arts (1967-77) which was banned in Archeology of the Final Decade retraces documents and records in order to reconstruct the space and complex networks of ideas that informed the Festival’s original curatorial direction.
Vali Mahlouji founder of Archaeology of the Final Decade is an independent curator, writer, and advisor to the British Museum . He serves as agent and curator of Kaveh Golestan Estate. Mahlouji’s recent curatorial work includes exhibitions at FOAM (Amsterdam), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Whitechapel Gallery, Photo London and Prince Claus Fund. Mahlouji has been published by Photo London, Encyclopædia Iranica; Asia Society Museum, New York; The Abraaj Group Art Prize, Dubai; Darat al Funun, Amman; and Sharjah Biennial, among many other institutions and media.
Irit Rogoff is a writer, educator, curator and organisor. She is Professor of Visual Culture at Goldsmiths, University of London, a department she founded in 2002. Rogoff works at the meeting ground between contemporary practices, politics and philosophy. Her current work is on new practices of knowledge production and their impact on modes of research, under the title of The Way We Work Now (forthcoming). As part of the collective freethought Rogoff was one of the artistic directors of the Norwegian Triennial, The Bergen Assembly, in September, 2016.