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Lost History and the Effect of the Found Image
Azadeh Fatehrad

Last modified: 2017-12-01

Abstract


 

‘Lost History and the Effect of the Found Image’ refers to the role of the found image in revealing the hidden history of a nation. The paper explores the notions of archive, visual information, memory and history, and their relation to contemporary life today, providing outstanding counter-information in the form of a found image which changed the perception of feminism in post-revolutionary Iran.

 

‘Lost History and the Effect of the Found Image’ reflects on the Iranian history typically presented by the media during the annual celebration of the Iranian Revolution (1979). The images that appear at this time suggest that the veiled appearance of women in post-revolutionary Iran was a smooth and happy transition, and are arguably designed to keep this idea alive year after year for the new generations.

 

I in fact discovered this picture was misleading when I came across a photograph by a photojournalist during my research project (2008). The found black and white photo captured a large crowd demonstrating on the streets of Tehran shortly after the Iranian Revolution when the compulsory dress code for women was announced. This found image presented a new narrative in Iranian history. The significant demonstration saw about 100,000 men and women marching spontaneously through the streets to protest against the dress code, and continued for 6 days. It is not surprisingly considered one of the most important movements in the history of feminism in Iran.

 

‘Lost History and the Effect of the Found Image’ explores in-depth how an archive can be reflected on, investigated and disseminated through artistic research. It investigates the power of the found image in rewriting history while considering the context of artistic research within archival material.