Ali Akbar Mehta

I create immersive cyber archives that map narratives of history, memory, and identity through a multifocal lens of violence, conflict, and trauma. Such archival mappings – as drawings, paintings, new media works, net-based projects, poems, essays, and theoretical texts, as well as performances both of bodies and networks – are rooted in datafeminist, posthumanist critical theories of making visible hegemonic power relations and silenced historical materialism. My ongoing doctoral research ‘Practicing Online Performativity: Constructing Politically Conscious Archives for the Future’, is interested in exploring the performative relations between online archives and its users through mediated interventions of Second Order Cybernetics, to create speculative knowledge systems that outline new political public spheres.

My work as performances, installations, and talks have been exhibited in galleries and alternative spaces in Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Helsinki, Tampere, Pori, Venice, Nova Gorica, Vienna, Fiskars, Turku, and Jyväskylä. Several of my projects, such as 256 Million Colours of Violence, Outsiders at Work, Ballad of the Lost Utopian Meadow, and Central Park Archives, exist as permanent ongoing online archives.

I am a co-founder and co-Artistic Director (2018-2020) of Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki, an anti-racist queer feminist cultural center, a board member of Kiila ry, and pursuing my Doctoral Research in the Contemporary Art Department at Aalto University, Helsinki. I hold a BFA (Drawing & Painting) from Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, and an MA (Visual Culture, Curating, and Contemporary Art) from Aalto University, Helsinki.

  • Narrating WAR, Vantaan Taidemuseo ARTSI
    Performance by Ali Akbar Mehta and varialambo, part of Reciprocities exhibition curated by Christine Langnauer
  • To Err is Human
    Mänttä Kuvataideviikot, curated by Anna Ruth, Mänttä, Jyväskulä, FI
  • Museum of Impossible Forms: Voicing the Margins
    in 'Marginaaleista museoihin'. (From Margins to Museums), (eds.) Rastas, Anna & Koivunen, Leila, (trans.) Nurmenniemi, Jenni, Tampere: Vastapaino, FI
  • Generating (An)Other Economy: Working Together at the Museum of Impossible Forms
    in 'How To Work Together?', Impossible Reader 02, (pub.) Museum of Impossible Forms
  • Cultural production and racism: How to challenge racist structures
    in 'Different shapes of racism. Critical perspectives on racialization, whiteness, & coloniality of power', edited by Keskinen, Suvi. CEREN, Helsinki University, FI
  • Narrating WAR, New Performance Turku, Festival 2020: Mobilities
    Performance by Ali Akbar Mehta with varialambo
  • Walkin the Portal
    Curated by Vivek Chockalingam and Marialaura Ghidini, Walkin Studios, Bangalore.
  • The Shape of Museums to Come
    in 'The Museum of the Future. 43 New Contributions to the Discussion about the Future of the Museum', (ed.) Nora Sternfeld, (pub.) schnittpunkt and Joachim Baur
  • SAFE{R}: Evolving the Conditions for Collaboration
    in 'Six years in the Third Space', Third Space, Helsinki (published online)
  • Processing In-Between(ness)
    in 'IN BETWEEN', HIAP summer Residency publication, (pub.) HIAP, Helsinki, FI
  • Who is Welcome? – Thinking Hospitality as Museum of Impossible Forms
    Rehearsing Hospitalities Companion 2, (ed.) Yvonne Billimore and Jussi Koitela, (pub.) Archive Books, Berlin, in collaboration with Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Helsinki, FI
  • CreaTures: Panel Discussion on Creative Practices for Transformational Futures
    Aalto University, Helsinki, FI (online)
  • The Meadow
    Onoma Summer Exhibition 2020, curated by Taru Elfving, Fiskars Village
  • Glitchverse
    Souja/Shelter Festival 2020, (online)
  • A Cyber Archive of Questions
    in 'cohabitant/mutants', Restricted Fixations, issue 01, edited by Renuka Rajiv, independant publication
  • Rehearsing Hospitalities Companion 2 Readings with Annet Dekker, and Susanna Ånäs and Ali Akbar Mehta
    Rehearsing Hospitalities, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Helsinki (online)
  • Mehta & Ånäs: Keskuspuisto-arkistot
  • Central Park Archives - workshops
    organised as part of residency w/ M-Cult at Maunula House, Helsinki
  • Central Park Archives sound walk
    launch of the prototype interface
  • Central Park Archives (Process)
  • Collecting Art in Archives: In Conversation with Ali Akbar Mehta
  • Central Park Archives, announcement
  • Central Park Archives
  • Ballad of the Lost Utopian Meadow
  • Akbar Padamsee 1928-2020: At 25, he was 25000
  • A Tapestry of Time
    TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • Violence in Finnish Society: In conversation with Arvind Ramachandran
    Myymälä2, Helsinki
  • Towards a New Internet: In conversation with Palash Mukhopadhyay
    Myymälä2, Helsinki
  • Is there a room with just a colour?
    Myymälä2, Helsinki
  • Is there a room with just a colour? In conversation with Camelo Ramiro
    Myymälä2, Helsinki
  • Digital Creativity and Entanglement: In conversation with Timo Tuhkanen
    Myymälä2, Helsinki
  • Notes for Radical Diversity, HAM Helsinki
  • Narrating WAR, Mymmälä2, Helsinki
    Performance Reading by Ali Akbar Mehta
  • WAR • ROOM • ECHO: Regarding the Pain of Other Cyborgs
  • Making Space
    curated by Saloni Doshi, Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • Resistance and Reimagining Alternatives
    Nordic Decolonial Workshop, Center for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism, (CEREN), University of Helsinki, Helsinki
  • Saša Nemec: My Teenage Angst Never Faded, I Am Still Rebelling
    Interview by OUTSIDERS AT WORK
  • Abhinit Khanna : Make Memes not War
    Interview by OUTSIDERS AT WORK
  • Outsiders at Work
  • Tuike and Simo Alitalo: All Ears are Equal
    Interview by OUTSIDERS AT WORK
  • Notes for Radical Diversity
    Helsinki Art Museum (HAM), Helsinki
  • In Conversation with Ali Akbar Mehta
  • direct contact // feedback
    w/ Vidha Saumya, Pixelache Festival 2019: Breaking the Fourth wall, Helsinki
  • To Not Wait for the Archive: Home and Labour mired in the complications of Invisibalisation
    Home Issue, Visual Culture and Contemporary Art Journal #5, (ed.) Saara Mahbouba, Paola Jallili and Else Lagerspetz, published by Aalto University, Helsinki 2019
  • Atlas of Lost Beliefs (for Insurgents, Citizens, & Untitled Bodies)
    Curatorial text by Ali Akbar Mehta, Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki
  • Narrating War, Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki
    curated by Vishnu Vardhani as part of Performance LAB VII
  • Narrating War, Experimental Event VI – La Torre de Babel, Pori
    curated by Anna Jensen and Andrea Coyotzi Borja, Valimo Hall of Palmgren Conservatory
  • Narrating War, Carinarnica, Nova Gorcia
  • No Corners
    TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • To Whomsoever it May Concern
  • To Participate in the Archive
  • Re-Musing the Museum: Part II
    Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, 2018
  • Cyborg Archives: WAR • ROOM • ECHO, TIFA Working Studios, Pune
  • Cyborg Archives: GarbageInGarbageOut, TIFA Working Studios, Pune
    Performance directed by Ali Akbar Mehta, and performed by Luv Mehtani
  • Cyborg Archives: Can Archives Speak?
    Performance directed by Ali Akbar Mehta and performed by Ganesh Totekar
  • Cyborg Archives: 256 Million Colours of Violence, TIFA Working Studios, Pune
  • Assembly of Access
    TIFA Working Studios, 2018
  • Narrating War / Pripovedovanje vojne: Ali Akbar Mehta
  • Maunula Remix
    mcult, Maunula House, 2018
  • FOOD and Other Practices at the Arthouse
    Visual Culture and Contemporary Art Journal #4, (ed.) Ali Akbar Mehta and Vidha Saumya, Published by Aalto University, Espoo, 2018
  • External Evaluation of Ali Akbar Mehta/ Master’s Thesis – Cyber Archive: Being and Doing Knowledge
  • Cyber Archives
    Die Schule der Archaeutopie in conversation with Ali Akbar Mehta, Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien, Vienna, 2018
  • Cyber Archive: Questions
  • Cyber Archive: Being and Doing Knowledge
    MA thesis, Aalto University, 2018
  • Cyber Archive: Archiving as a sustainable counter-hegemonic practice
    Hakara Journal, (ed.) Ashutosh Poddar and Noopur Desai, 2018
  • Bibliography and other Reading
  • Archiving Knowledge, sculptures
  • Cyber Archive
  • Congratulations, the Space is invaded: Now What?
    part of Space Invaders VI, curated by Anna Jensen and Elisa Suvanto, Helsinki
  • Archiving: Histories in the Present
    Guest Lecture, Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art (ViCCA), Aalto University, Helsinki
  • An Ode to Erkki Kurenniemi
    Essay by Ali Akbar Mehta
  • Not your Regular Archive
  • Colours of Violence, AROOP III - Totems and Taboos
    (ed.) Nancy Adajania, published by Raza Foundation, New Delhi, 2018
  • Narrating War, Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki
    curated by Heidi Hänninen
  • Narrating War, Clark House, Mumbai
  • The Photons of Politics: Footnotes for a New History
    RAB-RAB Journal for Political and Formal Inquiries in Art, (ed.) Sezgin Boynik, 2017
  • Purgatory Edit
  • Purgatory edit
  • OUT2
    Research Pavilion: The Utopia of Access, Venice Biennale, Venice
  • Maunula Speaks
  • Partizaning Maunula
    Maunulatalo, Maunula, Helsinki
  • Locating: The Museum of Impossible Forms
    Kone Foundation Boldness Blog, 2017
  • IS/NOT: Sculpture for the Post-Truth Era
    Aalto University Learning Centre, Helsinki
  • Is the representation of violence also violent?
  • Decolonial Dreaming, Urbanapa 2017
    curated by Sonya Lindfors, Ateneum Museum, Helsinki, 2017
  • Border Crossing: Reshaping the Agency of Struggle
    Interview with Ranjit Hoskote, CuMMA Papers Publication Series, (ed.) Nora Sternfeld, 2017
  • Ateria/ The Meal
    URB 2017 + Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum, Helsinki, 2017
  • What is the colour of violence?
  • Shades of Violence
  • Limitations of Liability
  • Limitations of Liability, Piramal Art Foundation
    in conversation with Kevin Lobo, Piramal Museum, Mumbai
  • Limitations of Liability, Mumbai Assembly
  • Limitations of Liability, Harkat Studios
  • Grant Report
  • Does violence have a colour?
  • Narrating War
  • Narrating War, Pispala, Tampere
  • Narrating War, Kallio Public Library, Helsinki
    part of Chimurenga Collective's 'The Pan African Space Station', curated by Ahmed Al-Nawas
  • Space Invaders IV: Heterotopia
    Espoo, 2016
  • (Un)Becoming Finnish
  • The Spaces Are Alive
  • The Inescapable Manifest Destiny of the Artworld Culture: Defining Art through the state of the Artworld today
    Essay by Ali Akbar Mehta (unpublished)
  • SOAK
  • SOAK, Illusia
    Kalasatama, Helsinki
  • SOAK is a mixed use world
    Curatorial Text by Ali Akbar Mehta
  • Pudding Manifesto for Togetherness
  • Whose History is it Anyway?*
    Aalto University, 2016
  • The Manifesto for Togetherness
  • Pudding Manifesto, Video
  • Proposal for Pudding Manifesto
    Project Proposal by Ali Akbar Mehta
  • Project Report
  • Pledge
  • Other Readings
  • Immersion 2016
    Former ADD LAB Space, Aalto University, Espoo
  • Play the Space, Stupid!
    Performance in Collaboration with Gabriela Gazova, Parsa Khamehkosh, Ragnar Rael, and Saša Nemec
  • Museum of Impossible Forms
  • Proposal for Contemporary Ruins of Kruunuvuori
    Project Proposal by Ali Akbar Mehta
  • About 256 Million Colours of Violence
  • 256 Million Colours of Violence
    Third Space, Helsinki
  • 256 Million Colours of Violence
  • null.void
  • TRINITY: Past, Present, and Future
    Artist Statement by Ali Akbar Mehta and Vidha Saumya
  • TRINITY: Godrej Legacy Park silos
    Godrej ONE, Vikhroli, Mumbai
  • TRINITY: Godrej Legacy Park Silos
  • The BB Art Showcase: Ali Akbar Mehta
  • Memory & the Maximum City
  • Memory and the Maximum City
  • Chinese Fortunes and other Mumbai Memories
  • Placebo Singers
  • No one at the ceremony remembers to mention the artist
    Essay for Vidha Saumya’s exhibition 'No one at the ceremony remembers to mention the artist', Third Space, 2015
  • Perfect Ghosts
    A brief historical record of the Kruunuvuori Villas, by Ali Akbar Mehta
  • Contemporary Ruins of Kruunuvuori
  • Why is an archive of wars required?
  • Foreword: Artist's Note
  • What a Wonderful World
  • The Possibility of Alienation
    Exhibition Essay by Sumesh Sharma – co-curator, Clark House Initiative, Mumbai
  • The Possibility Of Alienation – Ali Akbar Mehta
  • The Origin of Kwan Yin or Miao Shan
  • The Chinese in Mumbai
    Artist Statement by Ali Akbar Mehta
    Clark House, Mumbai
  • Site Specific
  • Shrikrishna Report
  • A select History of Mumbai
  • Paintings
  • Odes and Inquisitions: Sino-Indian Connections in Recent Indian Art
  • Mazgaon Interviews – Fakhruddin and Khateeja Merchant
  • Mathar Pacady Interviews – Uncle Martin
  • Mathar Pacady Interviews – Mr. Julius Valladares
  • Mathar Pacady Interviews – Aunty Tessi
  • Kwan Tai Shek Temple
  • Interview
  • Hidden Histories of Mazgoan
  • FOLKARCHIVE: Ali Akbar Mehta
    in Conversation with Sumesh Sharma, moderated by Latika Gupta, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum
  • Artist Book #3: Kwan Tai Shek
  • Artist Book #2: Daarukhana
  • Artist Book #1: Performers of Mazgaon
  • Tagore Lost and Found
    Curated by Bina Sarkar Ellias, IndiaBulls Art Gallery and Auction House, New Delhi
  • Tasher Desh
  • The League of Superheroes
  • Ali Akbar Mehta in conversation with Namrata Bhawnani
  • Planktonian People
  • Unselfed Extended
  • Small is Beautiful – II
    TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • On Superheroes and Science fiction
    Essay by Ali Akbar Mehta (unpublished)
  • Beyond the Canvas
    Curated by Kalpana Shah and Sapna Kar, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai,
  • Equilibrium
    TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • The Superhero Series
  • Visual Disobedience
  • Of Men and Supermen
    India Art Festival, by TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2012
  • SPACE 118
  • Small is Beautiful
    TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • Poems
  • Luminous Matter
  • Working stills, 2011
  • Luminous Matter Press Kit
  • Prelude to Luminous Matter (Animated)
  • Luminous Matter, Animated Short
  • Dystopia and Urban Imagination
  • The Harlequin Series
  • Somewhere between Science and Subjectivity
    Interview by Rahul D'Souza
  • Paintings
  • Nothing is Mundane
  • Not on Noah’s Ark, but on the Raft of the Medusa
    Essay by Ranjit Hoskote, Mumbai, 2011
  • Ballad of the War that Never Was, and Other Basterdised Myths, TAO Art Gallery
  • In A Liminal Age
    Interview by Rahul D'Souza
  • Everybody's a Jester
  • Drawings
  • Comprehending Violence
    Review by Abhishek Bandekar
  • Ballad of the War that Never Was, and Other Basterdised Myths
  • A Body Split in Two
    International Gallerie, Journal of Contemporary art, issue 30, (ed.) Bina Sarkar Ellias, Mumbai
  • April Salon
    Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
  • We are such stuff As dreams are made on
  • Transforming Myth
    Artist Statement, 2010
  • Three New Voices: Dimensions in Time & Space
    Art Heritage, New Delhi
  • Purgatory
  • We are such stuff As dreams are made on
  • Rebirth
  • Celebrating India
    Treo Foundation
  • Goodbye Blue Sky
  • Inhale / Exhale