Founded by Vali Mahlouji in 2010, Archaeology of the Final Decade (AOTFD) is a non-profit curatorial and educational platform which researches histories of nations condemned by social displacement, cultural annihilation or deliberate disappearance. AOTFD engages with accounts of culture which have been lost through material destruction, acts of censorship, political, economic or human contingencies.
A core aim of AOTFD is the identification, investigation and re-circulation of significant cultural and artistic materials that have remained obscure, under-exposed, endangered, banned or purposefully destroyed, and the reintegration of these materials into cultural memory, counteracting the damages of censorship and historical erasure.
AOTFD brings international attention to artists whose work has been neglected due to historical circumstances and assists cultural institutions in identifying and acquiring these works for their permanent public collections.
AOTFD materials have been acquired by Tate Modern, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Smithsonian Institute and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Tate Modern has dedicated a room to exhibiting materials from the AOTFD project Recreating the Citadel as part of its permanent collection.
The retracing and reintegration of these materials into cultural memory and discourse counteracts the damages of censorship and systemic erasures, fills in gaps in history and art history and constitutes an act of healthy historical reconciliation.
The research poses a wider question about the long-term effects associated with systemic amputations inflicted on cultural memory.
AOTFD operates through exhibitions, events, talks, symposia and publications. Upcoming projects include A Utopian Stage at Dhaka Art Summit 2018.
Our guiding objectives are to:
• Promote contemporary visual culture, particularly under-represented practices and practitioners with the aim to fill gaps in art history.
• Facilitate public access to archival and other cultural materials that are under-represented or not in circulation particularly those that have been removed, banned or destroyed.
• Research, document, disseminate and make publically accessible artistic and cultural materials and resources. Promote access to learning for cultural practitioners and general public.
• Strengthen international dialogue, collaboration and partnership through exhibitions, publications and public events that increase knowledge of the archives, practices and historical materials.
• Foster greater and mutual understanding via artistic practice and exchange.
• Encourage critical and engaging discourses and create opportunities for public interaction, dissemination and enjoyment of the historical and archival material
• Shift perspectives on the wider aspects of alternative modernisms especially from the non- European art historical perspective.
• Partner and collaborate with international institutions in the dissemination of knowledge, information and historical material.
Vali Mahlouji is a London-based curator, founder of AOTFD, independent advisor to The British Museum and director of Kaveh Golestan Estate. Mahlouji’s recent work includes exhibitions at Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Whitechapel Gallery, Photo London, Prince Claus Fund, Singapore International Festival of Arts, Art Dubai Modern, Bergen Triennial, Open Eye Gallery and Dhaka Art Summit 2018.
Mahlouji has been published by various institutions, including, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Guggenheim Museum; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; Photo London, Encyclopædia Iranica, Columbia University; Asia Society Museum New York; The Abraaj Group Art Prize, Dubai; Darat al Funun, Amman; and Sharjah Biennial; City University New York.
Recent talks and lectures by Vali Mahlouji have taken place at Stanford University; Aalto University, Helsinki; Yale University; Goldsmiths University; City & Guilds School of Art; Bergen Assembly; Asia Society, New York; Iran Heritage Foundation; Kultuforum, Berlin; Whitechapel Gallery; British Film Institute, among others.
His upcoming titles Prostitute 1975-77 and Perspectives on the Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis are due in 2017.