Laleh Mehran

Professor

Emergent Digital Practices

What I do

Laleh Mehran is a Professor of Emergent Digital Practices creating immersive, interactive, and digital art experiences focused on socio-political issues.

Professional Biography

Laleh Mehran was born in Iran and relocated with her family to the United States at the start of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. Issues revolving around dissent and exile are of particular interest and concern to Mehran. The progeny of Iranian scientists, her relationship to these subjects is necessarily complex, and is still more so now given a political climate in which certain views are increasingly suspect. Mehran's research, often modeled on and about the very ideas of science and technology, takes advantage of their cultural importance in order to articulate a set of ideas which require precisely these kinds of mediations from both political and religious intolerance.

Dissenting from culture requires an awareness of the consequences. Indeed, we live in an era in which some speech is increasingly censored – often with the most extreme outcomes for the speaker, and as such Mehran's work is of necessity as veiled as it is explicit, as personal as it is political and as critical as it is tolerant. In short, it has been the challenge of her work over time that it develop a language elaborate enough to accommodate her own highly complex relation to this contemporary tangle of science, politics, and theology.

Mehran received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Electronic Time-Based Media. Her work has been shown individually and collaboratively in the USA and international venues including the ISEA (United Arab Emirates), National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan), FILE (Brazil), ACT Festival (South Korea), Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Massachusetts), Mattress Factory Museum (Pennsylvania), Carnegie Museum of Art (Pennsylvania), 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), European Media Arts Festival (Germany), Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (Colorado), Currents: The Santa Fe International New Media Festival (New Mexico), and the Pittsburgh Biennial (Pennsylvania). Mehran is a Professor of Emergent Digital Practices at the University of Denver.

Media Sources

Performances

Men of God, Men of Nature

I created new work for this solo exhibition at the DAM. In addition, there were 7 performances in conjunction with the solo exhibition.

During the 10-month exhibition, there were approximately 458,000 visitors to the DAM, although not all viewed my exhibition, many did.

More information at:
http://lalehmehran.com/Men-of-God-Men-of-Nature

  • Denver, CO, USA
Entropic System

I was invited to submit work for an exhibition at Carnegie Mellon University.
"Entropic System" was a new work created for this exhibition. It's a complex interactive mechanism.

"Dominant Policy" is a work of video art also included in this exhibiton.

  • Pittsburgh, PA
W3FI: Taiwan

The W3FI is a social movement, a philosophy, a path to responsible connectivity between our online/offline lives and to each other.

Every day we find more and more of our lives integrated in the digital world, no longer able to lead separate lives, one virtual and one real. This means that we have to take control of and responsibility for how others see and relate to us in the digital world. We are proposing a new philosophy, a new strategy for our online interactions. The W3FI project is much more than an awareness campaign, it is a movement in social activism to ask a new set of questions for each of us every time we click, text, or share a photo.

At the end of the W3FI interactive installation experience people are asked to become part of the W3FI, the collective of people who lift up each other by interacting positively, with encouragement, help, sharing, and understanding. In this way the project addresses issues ranging from cyber-bullying to open-source knowledge.

  • Taichung, Taiwan
Dominant Policy / 404 International Festival of Art & Technology

I was invited to propose work for the 404 Festival and my work was accepted.

  • Rosario, Argentina
Entropic Order

Ever-shifting structures in politics, religions and urban migrations create new socio-political landscapes, metaphorically represented in Entropic Order. The landscapes are symbolic of power structures continuously reshaped and in flux, in reference specifically to the current political climates in the Middle East.

This interactive installation is comprised of a 2-axis machine and 3,000 pounds of Black Beauty sand. The sand while representing the terrain is in fact coal slag. The hovering machine is symbolic of the politicization of ideologies; it navigates and commands a suspended brass pendulum, responding to participant’s movements and presence around its borders. The pendulum receives commands, which it obeys and executes without hesitation. In its solitude, the pendulum’s piercing tip engraves precise geometric latticework; the presence of participants calls it to action, shifting its focus to frantic carvings of the landscape and causing the perfection of the patterns to fragment and collapse.

The terrain holds the visible remains of impressions that endure even once the machine has moved on to other parts of the landscape - reflecting and preserving a real-time history. The continuously reconstructed landscapes will, over time, create numerous possibilities of terrain, simultaneously beautiful while reflecting the complex realities in our lives.

  • Arvada, Colorado, USA

Presentations

  • Art in the Age of Digital Fabrication

Awards

  • Distinguished Professor, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, People's Republic of China,
  • Dean's Award for Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • Top Ten Women Artists in Colorado, http://adobeairstream.com
  • Faculty Career Champion , DU Career & Professional Development
  • Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Stapleton Research Fund, University of Denver