#76: Laleh Mehran
Laleh Mehran represents the new wave of tech-savvy artists, jumping between mediums and testing new ground internationally in the widening digital-art arena. Her video work can be seen on downtown LED screens and as part of the recently departed Monkey Town's programming, while a new interactive and tech-savvy installation at the Arvada Center crosses boundaries of another, more palpable kind. We asked Mehran what the world looks like from the frontier where she works; read her 100CC questionnaire to learn more.
Westword:If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Laleh Mehran: I would have liked to collaborate with Andrei Tarkovsky. I feel a connection to Tarkovsky's sensibilities in aesthetics, symbolism, experimentation, and interdisciplinary work. I believe we have complimentary ideologies and methodologies with the potential to creative an immersive experience influencing temporal perception in real time, which would expand on Tarkovsky's theory of cinema, "sculpting in time."
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
In the digital/tech world, I'm interested in creative coders and fabricators who share their knowledge as open source. Many individuals and companies use open source software/hardware but seldom give proper acknowledgment to the folks sharing their expertise.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Works based on "food orgy" and selfies.
What's your day job?
I am an associate professor and graduate director in the Emergent Digital Practices program at the University of Denver.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
With such an offer, I feel I must think big. I would like to collaborate with a group of interdisciplinary makers and thinkers to set up an institute for creativity that is free to the public. These institutes would foster areas such as visual and sonic arts, create writing, and theatre. There would be workshop-style classes, facilities for collaborative production and thinking, and spaces for exhibition and experimentation. The creative's employed would earn a professional wage. There would be an institute in every city that would want one -- on an international scale.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
I believe support for large, interdisciplinary, temporary public art projects that engage and activate the various cultural and socioeconomic communities would bring positive attention to some of the best aspects of Denver/Colorado. Highly visible artworks have the potential to help artists, cultural organizations, the communities involved and the city at large.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
I would say Chris Coleman, who is my partner and collaborator, however thinking more broadly I would say that I'm impressed with the Untitled Art Show hosts Erik Isaac and Michael Keen. They have a unique way of asking hard questions while still making you feel so comfortable that you readily share all sort of details. They are authentic and enthusiastic with every guest and their years of contribution to the community have been impactful.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
I'm excited to show my "Entropic Order" piece at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. The interactive installation is large with over one ton of black beauty sand, so needless to say it's complicated to install. The centerpiece is a twelve-by-sixteen-foot drawing machine designed and fabricated by Chris Coleman. Following this exhibition, I'll be in China for an artist residency and workshops.
In late summer, I'll be in Taipei, Taiwan exhibiting a couple of works, including Chris's and my collaborative project, "W3FI," which will be shown at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. In late fall, we will be exhibiting "W3FI" for the International Symposium on Electronic Art in Dubai.
In early fall, as part of the
Who do you think will get noticed in the local art community in 2014?
I believe that more experimental and digital artists will be noticed -- like Kristin Stransky. I also think that
See Laleh Mehran's installation "Entropic Order," part of Unbound, a series of exhibits opening tonight, June 5, with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Arvada Center. "Entropic Order" remains on view through August 31. Learn more about Laleh Mehran online.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
To keep up with the Froyd's eye view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.
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