MALfunction #5: Dissent

Presented by

Tuesday, Mar 7
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Museum of Natural History

Event Details

MALfunction: A series of intimate events that question where media and society, research and practice meet. Each MALfunction features one researcher and one artist whose projects examine a similar technological theme.

Curated by Maya Livio

Researcher: Jonas Kaiser // The Right Wing-Web
Artist: Laleh Mehran // Symbolic Patterns of Structure and Control

Jonas Kaiser
Right-wing organisations have been on the fringes of society in the US and Western Europe for most of the last 60 years. This, however, has changed. The financial crisis, migrant crisis, and potential threats of terrorism have eroded the borders between the right-wing and political mainstream, with right-wing populist parties and civil movements preying on society’s feelings of uncertainty and powerlessness. In his talk, Kaiser will shine a light on the role of white nationalist websites in the US election, and outline how right-wing organizations have been connecting internationally to strengthen their national agendas. 
Jonas Kaiser is a communications scholar, Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and Associate Researcher at Humboldt Institute for Internet & Society. His research focuses on the online presence of right-wing populist and extremist organisations in Germany, Sweden, and the US. Specifically, he is interested in how right-wing organisations attempt to bridge the gap with mainstream politics, and how they connect internationally. Jonas earned his doctoral degree at Zeppelin University in Germany with an analysis of climate change skepticism in the German networked public sphere.

Laleh Mehran 

Sharing the inspirations, methodologies, and processes in her work, Laleh Mehran will discuss the complexities involved in creating artworks that critique dominant political ideologies, and the threat of severe personal ramifications that can emerge. Some of the pieces she will discuss include Men of God, Men of Nature and Entropic Order—two works she has exhibited regionally, which speak critically to these issues.

Laleh Mehran was born in Iran and relocated with her family to the United States at the start of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. For nearly 20 years, Mehran has been creating elaborate digital and physical artworks inspired by Eastern and Western aesthetic sensibilities. Focused on the complicated intersections between politics, religion, and science, she strives to call attention to these concepts with the awareness that in today’s political climate, certain views can have extreme consequences for the speaker. These considerations influence her to create artistic spaces for critical thought, dialogue, and aesthetics while raising the question of the viewer’s relation to each of these fundamental systems. 

Mehran received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. Her work has been shown individually and as part of collectives in venues including the International Symposium on Electronic Art (United Arab Emirates), National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan), Electronic Language International Festival (Brazil), Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Massachusetts), The Georgia Museum of Art (Georgia), The Andy Warhol Museum (Pennsylvania), Denver Art Museum (Colorado), Biennial of the Americas at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (Colorado), 404 International Festival of Art & Technology (Argentina), Next 5 Minutes 4 Tactical Media Festival (Netherlands), and the European Media Arts Festival (Germany). Mehran is a Professor and Graduate Director in the Emergent Digital Practices program at the University of Denver.

Presented by the Media Archaeology Lab. Free and open to the public.