[spectre] CFP: Art and Transition in Iran (online/Bonn, 16-17 Nov 23)

Andreas Broeckmann andreas.broeckmann at leuphana.de
Fri Jun 2 08:13:05 CEST 2023

From: Birgit Mersmann
Date: Jun 1, 2023
Subject: CFP: Art and Transition in Iran (online/Bonn, 16-17 Nov 23)

online / Institute of Art History, University of Bonn, Nov 16–17, 2023
Deadline: Jul 31, 2023

International Hybrid Workshop: Collective Traumas and Future Fantasies: 
The Power of (Visual) Art for Social and Political Transition in Iran. 
Conception and organization: Raika Khorshidian, Birgit Mersmann.

Art and visual culture, artistic creativity and art activism have played 
a significant role in the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement, acting as 
tools to protest against the propaganda of the Islamic regime and echo 
the voices of millions of minoritized Iranians. Since the beginning of 
the movement, the practice of art-based disobedience – in the form of 
performances, happenings, graffiti and installations – has raised public 
awareness in Iran. Circulating these images, paintings, graphic designs, 
illustrations, photomontages and animations on social media has 
highlighted political issues, documented the victims and paid tribute to 
the activists (heroines and heroes). It has brought about an extended 
solidarity, created a diasporic re-collectivity and expanded global 
awareness. These artistic protest activities have led to the 
creation/imagination of future fantasies of a free Iran (an Iran without 
the Islamic Regime). At the same time, however, widespread repression 
and arrests, unbridled inflation, forced confessions, executions, new 
restrictions and the enrichment of uranium have all caused artists to 
envision nightmarish dystopian futures. Understanding how these 
revolutionary moments, conditions and feelings are reflected in the 
visual and performing arts, along with how they are shared on social 
media, requires us to explore Tehran’s pre-September 2022 art scene and 
Iranian diasporic art, factoring in the nostalgic legacy and unhomely 
aesthetics of modern and contemporary Iranian art. The workshop will 
look at how the visual and performing arts resisted the repression, 
divisive propaganda, severe censorship and mass surveillance at work in 
Iran, and invited Iranians to share their traumas, shift perspectives 
and broaden their viewpoints on rereading Iran’s history. We encourage 
contributors to approach the themes below from different academic 
backgrounds and research perspectives, such as artivism and (visual) 
protest cultures, democracy studies, diasporic aesthetics, trauma 
research and memory studies. If there is a future after the Islamic 
Regime, Iranians will inevitably have to confront the individual and 
(trans-)national trauma inflicted by the devastation of their homeland. 
Art may provide Iranians with a valuable mechanism for releasing 
collective trauma, encouraging mutual understanding and rebuilding the 
homeland. In this, there are valuable lessons to be drawn from the art 
history of Germany during reconstruction and reunification, the art 
history of post-communist Europe and the histories of other nations and 
regions that have experience with system change and the role of the 
visual arts in transitional politics. The future of Iran’s democracy 
requires imagination and creativity. We therefore invite contributions 
that offer thought-provoking perspectives and comparative and 
cross-cultural studies on the role of art, including individual artists 
and art collectives, focusing on advancing democracy in Iran and other 
countries worldwide.

The deadline for submissions is 31 July 2023. The selected presenters 
will be notified by 31 August 2023. The Institute of Art History at the 
University of Bonn offers to pay for the accommodation of the selected 
speakers (max. 3 nights). Unfortunately, travel expenses cannot be covered.

The workshop will be held in English. Please send the title and an 
abstract of your proposal (maximum 500 words) for a 20-minute 
presentation along with a short biography to: 
ArtandTransitioninIran at uni-bonn.de

Possible topics include but are not limited to: - Why artists engage in 
the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement - Visual languages/iconographies of 
civic protest during the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement - Protest 
art/art activism and art-based disobedience in the “Women, Life, 
Freedom” movement - The significance of performance art in the “Woman, 
Life, Freedom” movement - The role of social media as a medium for 
art-political activism - Art against propaganda in Iran - 
Precariousness, estrangement, and nonbelonging in contemporary Iranian 
art from 1979 onwards; transformation of the concept of home/homeland in 
contemporary Iranian art - The visual history of Iranians’ collective 
traumas - Nostalgia in contemporary Iranian art - Diasporic dimensions 
within the Iranian art-protest movement - Post-apocalyptic and 
post-catastrophic art in Iran - Visualizations of future fantasies 
(dreams and/or nightmares) for Iran - Post-dictatorship art - 
Comparative/cross-cultural art-historical studies of social change and 
political transition with a focus on future fantasies

Reference / Quellennachweis:
CFP: Art and Transition in Iran (online/Bonn, 16-17 Nov 23). In: 
ArtHist.net, Jun 1, 2023. <https://arthist.net/archive/39408>.

More information about the SPECTRE mailing list