Biography

Biography

ALI AKBAR MEHTA

(b. 1983, Mumbai, India)

Ali Akbar Mehta is a Trans-media artist. Through his research-based transmedia practice, he creates immersive cyber archives that explore collective memetic history, narratives of memory, identity, violence, and conflict. He is a founder-member and current Artistic Director of Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki, and the Artistic Producer at mcult Media Residency, Helsinki. He is also pursuing a Doctoral Research program at the Contemporary Art Department at Aalto University, Helsinki.

He has exhibited his projects in galleries and alternate spaces in Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Helsinki, Tampere, Pori, Venice, Nova Goriza, and Vilnius. He holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting from Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, and an MA in Visual Culture, Curating, and Contemporary Art from Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland, where he completed a thesis text titled ‘Cyber Archive: Being and Doing Knowledge’. Some of his ongoing projects are ‘256 Million Colours of Violence’, ‘Contemporary Ruins of Kruunuvuori’, ‘War Room Echo – Regarding the pain of Other Cyborgs’, ‘New Frontiers: Critical enquiries for archives as Artistic Praxis’, and ‘Non-Alignment as Resistance: Towards Cyber Archives as counter-hegemonic practice’. He lives and works in Helsinki and Mumbai.

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Education

Currently pursuing Doctoral Studies (Contemporary Art), Aalto University, Helsinki, ongoing

MA (Visual Culture, Curating and Contemporary Art), Aalto University, Helsinki, 2018

BFA (Painting), Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, 2005

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Experience

Artistic Producer, m-cult Media Residency, Helsinki, 2019

Guest Lecturer, Aalto University, Helsinki, 2018

co-Artistic Director, Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki, 2018-present

Guest Lecturer, Whistling Woods International Institute of Film, communication and Media Arts, Mumbai, 2014

Head of Post production, Composite films, 2011-2014

Co-founder, Lead Animator and Artist, Mareech Animated Design, 2002-2006

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Current Projects

Outsiders at Work (www.outsidersatwork.wordpress.com)

256 Million Colours of Violence (www.256millioncoloursofviolence.com)

WAR • ROOM • ECHO :: Regarding the Pain of Other Cyborgs

Contemporary Ruins of Kruunuvuori: The Perfect Ghosts of Helsinki

Cyber Archive: Being and Doing Knowledge

New Frontiers: Critical inquiries for archives as Artistic Praxis

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Performance

(upcoming) Narrating War, Vilnius City Museum, Vilnius, 2019

direct-contact//feedback, Pixelache Festival, Helsinki, 2019

Narrating War, Experimental Event VI, curated by Anna Jensen and Andrea Coyotzi Borja, a collateral event of Pori Film Festival, Pori, 2018

Narrating War, Carincarina, Nova Gorica, 2018

Narrating War, Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki, 2018

Cyborg Archives: GarbageInGarbageOut, TIFA Working Studios, Pune, 2018

Cyborg Archives: Can Archives Speak?, TIFA Working Studios, Pune, 2018

Narrating War, TIFA Working Studios, Pune, 2018

Narrating War, Memory of War, Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki, 2017

Narrating War, Clark House, Mumbai, 2017

Where does poetry nest?, curated by Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Pispala Memorial, Tampere, 2016

null.void, Chimurenga Collective – Pan-African Space Station, Kallio Public Library, Helsinki, 2016

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Artist Talks

Re:Musing the Museum, Part II, Kiasma International Museum, Helsinki, 2018

Cyber Archives, Die Schule der Archaeutopie in conversation with Ali Akbar Mehta, Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien, Vienna, 2018

Archiving: Histories of the Present, guest lecture, Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art (ViCCA), Aalto University, Helsinki

Congratulations, the space has been invaded: NOW WHAT?, Space Invaders VI, Helsinki, 2018

A Common Sense Manifesto of Cooking Practices for Artists, Aalto University, Espoo, 2018

Decolonial Dreaming, Urbanapa 2017, Atenuim Museum, Helsinki, 2017

The Urgency of Asking Questions, in conversation with Kevin Lobo, Piramal Museum, Mumbai, 2017

Memory and the Maximum City, Godrej India Culture Lab, Mumbai, 2015

FOLKARCHIVE, in conversation with Sumesh Sharma; moderated by Latika Gupta, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad City Museum, Mumbai, 2014

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Solo Exhibitions

Limitations of Liability, Mumbai Assembly and Harkat Studios, Mumbai, 2017

256 Million Colours of Violence, Third Space, Helsinki, 2016

SITE: STAGE: STRUCTURE, Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, 2014

Of Men and Supermen, India Art Festival, presented by TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2012

The Ballad of The War that Never Was, and other Bastardized Myths, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2011

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Select Group Exhibitions


No Corners, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2018

Assembly of Access, TIFA, Pune, 2018

Partizaning Maunula, Maunulatalo, Maunula, Helsinki, 2017

OUT 2, Research Pavilion: The Utopia of Access, Venice Biennale, Venice, 2017

Ateria/The Meal, URB 2017 + Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum, Helsinki, 2017

‘IS/NOT: Sculpture for the Post-Truth Era’, Aalto University Learning Centre, Helsinki, Finland, 2017

Immersion 2016, Aalto University, Espoo, 2016

Where Does Poetry Nest?, curated by Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Galleria Emil, Tampere, 2016

Space Invaders IV: Heterotopia, Espoo, 2016

SOAK, D/func.t, Helsinki, 2016

*Whose History is it anyway?, Aalto University, Espoo, 2016

Cisspace: Construct(ed.), Otaniemi Recycling Center, Espoo, 2015

Infinite, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2014

Small is Beautiful – II, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2013

Beyond the Canvas, ­Curated by Kalpana Shah and Sapna Kar, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2013

Tagore Lost and Found, Curated by Bina Sarkar Ellias, IndiaBulls Art Gallery and Auction House, New Delhi, 2013

Equilibrium, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2013

Synergy, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2012

Small is Beautiful, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2012

Three New Voices: Dimensions in Time & Space, Art Heritage, New Delhi, 2010

April Salon, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, 2010

Evolve, TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2010

Gems of India, Unicorn Art Gallery, Dubai, 2009

India on Canvas, charity auction, New Delhi, 2009

The Kohinoor Selection, Unicorn Art Gallery, Dubai, 2008

Art for Justice and Peace, Sabrang, Mumbai, 2008

Art Smart, Mumbai, and Delhi, 2008

India on Canvas, charity auction, Mumbai, 2007

Celebrating India, Treo Foundation, Delhi-Calcutta-Bangalore-Mumbai-New York, 2007

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Public projects

TRINITY: Godrej Legacy Park Silos, Godrej One, Mumbai, India, 2015

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Curatorial Projects

MATERIAL///IMMATERIAL, A: SPACE, Espoo, Finland, 2016

SOAK, D/func.t, Helsinki, Finland, 2016

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Publications and Texts

To Not Wait for the Archive: Home and Labour mired in the complications of Invisibalisation, Visual Culture and Contemporary Art Journal #5, (ed.) Saara Mahbouba, Paola Jallili and Else Lagerspetz, published by Aalto University, Helsinki 2019

Colours of Violence, AROOP: Totems and Taboos, volume 3, (ed.) Nancy Adajania, published by Raza Foundation, New Delhi, 2018

Cyber Archive: Archiving as a sustainable counter-hegemonic practice, Hakara Journal: Form / Play, edition 06, (ed.) Ashutosh Poddar and Noopur Desai, Pune, 2018

Cyber Archive: Being and Doing Knowledge, Aalto University, Espoo, 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

Locating: The Museum of Impossible Forms, Kone Foundation Boldness Blog, Helsinki, 2017

Border Crossing: Reshaping the Agency of Struggle, interview with Ranjit Hoskote, CuMMA Papers publication series, (ed.) Nora Sternfeld, Helsinki, 2017

The Photons of Politics: Footnotes for a New History, RAB-RAB Journal for Political and Formal Inquiries in Art, issue#4.01, (ed.) Sezgin Boynik, Helsinki, 2017

No one at the ceremony remembers to mention the artist, Essay for Exhibition No one at the ceremony remembers to mention the artist, Third Space, Helsinki, 2015

Site: Stage: Structure, suite of 17 Accordion fold and 3 artist photo-books, self-published, Mumbai, 2014

A body split in two, International Gallerie, Journal of Contemporary art, issue 30, (ed.) Bina Sarkar Ellias, Mumbai, 2011

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Residencies

To Participate in the Archive, ARTEL 2018, TIFA Working Studios, Pune, 2018

SPACE 118, Mumbai, 2012

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Teaching

Guest lecturer, ‘Archiving: Histories of the Present’, Visual Culture and Contemporary Art (ViCCA), Aalto University, Helsinki, 2018

Guest Lecturer, Whistling Woods International Institute of Film, communication and Media Arts, 2014 – 2015

Regularly conducting drawing and painting workshops as part of various NGO activities and schools (for children of 10 to 15 years) Teach India, Dear Imagination, The Oberoi International IB School, 2011 ­– 2013

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Other work Experience

2019: Artistic Producer, Mcult Media Cultural Association, Helsinki

2018 – present: Artistic Director, Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki

2017: Program Manager, Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki

2016 – present: Founder Member, Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki

2016 ­– 2017: Member, Third Space Collective, Helsinki

2016 ­– present: Founder Member, D/func.t Collective, Helsinki

2016 – 2017: Communication Assistant, Visual Culture and Contemporary Art (ViCCA), Aalto University, Helsinki

2016: Post Production and animation, Arab Strings, a performance video by artist Jowan Safadi (Palestine)

2015: Post Production, ‘#7: Greed’ short film

2014: ­Co-conceived and Head of Post Production, Relics of Eden, a short fictional film by COMPOSITE Films

2014: Head of Post Production, What a Wonderful World, an independently produced post-apocalyptic themed experimental video

2013 ­– 2014: Freelance Artist and Character Designer, TUMBAD, feature-length live-action film produced by Recyclewala Films

2012 – 2016: Consulting head of Post Production and freelance Artist, for various Digital content projects by COMPOSITE Films

QuickHeal Antivirus La15 Patisserie Fizzy Foods KNM Airlines

2011 – 2013: Creative Director and Head of Post Production, Luminous Matter, a stop-motion animated short film by COMPOSITE Films

Screened at:

  • Austria Film Festival 2013
  • Jaipur Film Festival, 2013
  • Leeds Film Festival, 2012
  • DIGICON Tokyo, 2012
  • FICCI Frames, Mumbai 2012

2002 – 2007: Co ­­­­­– ­founder, Lead Animator and artist, Mareech Animated Design, an animation studio specializing in 3D animation and Visual Effects for Film and Television

2004 – 2006: Co-written and performed, Aham: What’s going on?, a full-length play performed at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai

2005: BFA (Drawing and Painting) from Sir J.J. School of (Fine) Art.

2004: Directed and edited, Untitled, a documentary short film on Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai.