create, disseminate, dismantle and continue
the life of an archive.
Mishandled Archive is a cross-disciplinary project that challenges our understanding of history, personal archives and itinerancy using participatory dance, photography, social media, site-specific art, storytelling and performance.
The project finds its starting point in a rare archive of over 2,000 predominantly Iranian family photographs and other printed memories which I collected through extensive personal and transnational research. This DIY archive imaginatively engages with half-remembered memories of prisons, executions, love affairs, shootings, war, secret religions, illegal immigration, legal migration, deception, syphilis, Kxoxexni, Winston Churchill. I used these documents and stories as the basis for 365 public interventions (international), a studio-based performance-installation (UK, Iran), workshops (UK) and a book (UK).
"Passing through archival research and modes of documentation, Fatehi Irani's nomadic performative process creates new worlds."
Professor Amelia Jones, University of Southern California
Download Mishandled Archive info pack.
Press and reviews:
"Tara Fatehi Irani’s Mishandled Archive publication folds time and space in complex ways, creating a strange weave of collected images, near and distant lives, real and imagined pasts, Instagram posts and minimalist dance scores. In its detailed, endlessly reflexive record of a year long performance it speaks of diasporic experience, displacement and new modes of what might be called belonging.
Tim Etchells, Artist and Director of Forced Entertainment
Mishandled Archive started with a yearlong series
of performances and actions in public space. Every day,
for 365 days, Tara Fatehi Irani placed copies of
her collected family photos, ID cards, final wills,
letters and other ephemera in unexpected public
places. At the site of each dispersal she performed a dance and annotated the photograph with a description of the dance and details of the site. Find out more.
Tara Fatehi - Mishandled Archive 316
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A collaboration between Tara Fatehi Irani and experimental musician and sound artist Pouya Ehsaei, this performance happens within an installation made of hundred of photographs from the project. Local guest performers are invited to rehearse and perform in the piece. The audience are immersed in a world of images, sounds, stories and dances – real and imagined.
Tara Fatehi Irani, Mishandled Archive, Darbast Platform (2018), © Mehrdad Motejalli
Tara Fatehi Irani, Mishandled Archive, p
Tara Fatehi Irani, Mishandled Archive, performance photograph, Nuffield Theatre (Lancaster, 2020), ©
With multitudes of stunning photographs, dance scores, essays and stories told in hashtags, Mishandled Archive records and reflects on Tara Fatehi Irani’s intentional scattering and displacement of a family archive. Elegantly designed by David Caines, the book offers a space to reimagine what it means to create, disseminate, dismantle and continue the life of an archive. Find out more and get a copy.
Mishandled Archive Book - Front cover
Mishandled Archive Book - inside
designed by David Caines
Mishandled Archive book - © Tara Fatehi Irani