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Performances > Mishandled Archive > Mishandled Archive Book 

Mishandled Archive:


"In this gem of a book, Tara Fatehi Irani expands even further her vast creative exploration of how remembered histories link to global networks of bodies, spaces, and temporalities. Deploying a range of media from the oldest known to human communities (oral history and gossip) to the newest (social media), passing through archival research and modes of documentation, Fatehi Irani's nomadic performative process creates new worlds. This book both informs and dazzles for any interested in history, memory, archives, and performance."

Professor Amelia Jones, Art Historian and Critic, University of Southern California

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. 


Every day for a year, Tara Fatehi Irani dispersed fragments of family photographs and documents in public places in the UK, Iran, Switzerland, Kurdistan, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, the Persian Gulf, and in between borders and amongst the clouds. She made a photograph, an annotation, a dance and an Instagram post on the site of each dispersal. 


The project embraces nomadism, taking up temporary homes in unexpected public places and in the bodies of those who encounter it. In this nomadic dispersal, there is potential for sites, bodies and histories to intermingle and reimagine themselves through a fantasy of possible futures. 

With writings and thoughts by: Nicola Conibere, Maddy Costa, Diana Damian Martin, Eirini Kartsaki, Joe Kelleher, Shahram Khosravi, Giulia Palladini, Mary Paterson, Marco Pustianaz, Anahid Ravanpoor, Holly Revell and Jemima Yong

“Tara Fatehi Irani's project, represented in this beautiful book, conjures a tender and intimate approach to re-imagining the textures of social networks in the age of digital media, and intervenes poetically in urban anonymity. Fatehi Irani's work speaks evocatively to the dislocations of city life, and transnational migration, but finds, nevertheless, a kind of collective intimacy in the care and attention that her 'mishanded' and dispersed archive of photographs receives amongst strangers in public space, and then online. The book is itself a fascinating testament to this multi-layered, year-long journey.”

Catherine Wood, Senior Curator of International Art (Performance) at Tate Modern

Valentine Offer

ISBN 978-1-9164243-9-5

Published by Live Art Development Agency 

Autumn 2020 

Paperback, 190 x 268 mm

256 pages with c. 410 colour images

Supported by Arts Council England

Project producer: Lorenza Peragine

Contributions by artists, writers and researchers expand and reflect on the themes of the project including creative engagement with archives, anthropophagy and history, accumulating forgettable objects, fictional kinship, homelessness, and choreographing uncertainty. 


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"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. It’s a compelling project that celebrates the fragility, tenaciousness and fecundity of memory and the extraordinary capacity of images to summon narratives as they interact with landscape, casting a spell of connection between strangers in locations around the world, from London to Tehran, Newcastle to Zurich.”

Tim Etchells, Artist and Director of Forced Entertainment

“I walk the streets of Warsaw while the ambience created by the street lights and buildings reminds me so much of Belgrade … Similarities, misplacement, non-belonging … Tara Fatehi Irani leaves us with such feelings wherever she goes and whatever she does … in a playfully structured daily praxis of juxtaposition of realities, she has been building a web to trap the attention of an occasional passerby … someone open, who would get in touch, curious to hear the story … A story related to the lost and misplaced fragments of lives of unknown people … Warm recommendation.”

Tanja Ostojic, performance and interdisciplinary artist

Latest reviews on the book:

Signal House Edition: (mis)remembering and (re)interpreting history Anahi Saravia Herrera

Object, Lesson, Space: an interview with Tara

Club des Femmes: a feature by Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou

performingborders interview: Tara interviewed by Alessandra Cianetti and Xavier DeSousa

Nero Magazine: Archive of Dispersal

a review by Giulia Crispiani with an excerpt from the book by Marco Pustianaz

Art a Part of CultureInterview with Tara by Helia Hamedani

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sample spread from the book, designed by David Caines

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