Romantic Self-Exiles
Morehshin Allahyari and Jennifer Way



In this essay, new-media artist Morehshin Allahyari and art historian Jennifer Way respectively and collaboratively examine how Allahyari’s unpublished notes and recent installation, Romantic Self-Exiles, consisting of postcards, a film, a 3D animation and video projecting around and through a Plexiglas maquette of Tehran, engage with place and memory from the perspective of leaving yet remaining connected to Iran. First, Allahyari contextualizes excerpts from her unpublished notes on self-exile and diaspora.Next, Way frames major themes in Allahyari’s work, such as nation and homeland, in relation to place, collective memory and emotional geography. Together, Allahyari and Way review some of the ways in which Allahyari refracts self-exile and the collective memories she associates with her generation, largely by referencing place. They conclude by reflecting on the activism of Romantic Self-Exiles’ notions of nation, homeland, place, collective memory, emotional geography, and embodiment.



Morehshin Allahyari is a new-media artist and an art activist. She was born and raised in Iran and moved to the United States in 2007. Her creative and research interests encompass 3D animation, digital filmmaking, installation, performance and extensive activity as a curator and producer. The topics of her practice include the social, political and cultural issues of Iran, creative writing, art activism, media art, and collaborative art. Allahyari’s animated films and curatorial projects have received worldwide acclaim. She has been part of exhibitions, festivals, and conferences in Tehran, Denver (TEDx conference), Dallas (Dallas Biennale and Oliver Francis Gallery), Chicago, New York, Germany (The 7th Berlin International Directors Lounge and the 25th European Media Art Festival in Osnabrück), Paris, Virginia (The Taubman Museum of Art), San Francisco, Denton (University of North Texas), Portland, Ohio, Brazil, Sweden, Romania (Arad Art Museum), Netherlands, Canada, and Marrakech.
Jennifer Way is an Associate Professor of Art History at the University of North Texas. Her current research agenda encompasses British and Irish art since 1950, American art and visual and material culture in social and international contexts, and art and technology.  The latter includes several topics: among them, the American reception of Walter Benjamin's essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”; “Women Art Technology”, an on-going oral history interview project that trains students in oral history and autoethnograph.



transnationalism, ‘in-betweeness’, collective memory, interaction

16 Allahyari - Way.pdf

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