[ISEA2023] Paper: Hamed Rashtian & Gabriela Aceves-Sepulveda — Same Old Story: Agential Realism in the Study of Colonial Histories


Full Paper.Theme Architectures – Territoires Subtheme Symbiotic Organisation

What are the possibilities of accessing the reality of history? How can we read history and what can we learn from it? In this paper, I will try to contemplate these questions by putting my ongoing research-creation project titled Same Old Story (2020-present) in conversation with literature to expand its theoretical framework.

Informed by the ideas of U.S. feminist theorist Karen Barad about “agential realism”, I will elaborate on how this concept can be adopted in the study of history. To do so, after an introductory literature review, I will start with a detailed description of the project. Further, I will expand on the theory involved in Same Old Story under the three themes of Archive/Memory, Architecture, and Monument/Counter-Monument. These themes are chosen for discussion because Same Old Story incorporates them in its structure. Building from this discussion, I will elaborate on how to further expand my work, focusing on the possibilities and limits of revitalizing embodied realities in historical events and learning from them.

  • Hamed Rashtian is a visual artist and Ph.D. student in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at Simon Fraser University (CA). Hamed completed his Master of Fine Arts at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, researching the possibilities of an art installation in creating a dialogue between different colonial histories. He holds a Swiss Federal Diploma in Higher Education from the F+F School of Art and Design in Zurich. Hamed has held seven solo exhibitions in Iran, Switzerland, and United Arab Emirates and has participated in more than sixty group exhibitions in Iran, Switzerland, France, Germany, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Dr. Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda is a Mexican-Canadian interdisciplinary media artist and cultural historian with a research focus in feminist media art history. She is Associate Professor in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University where she leads criticalMediaArtsStudio (cMAS). cMAS is an interdisciplinary research-creation studio that produces work that interrogates how old and new technologies have and continue to shape our sense of self through a theoretical lens informed by media and feminist theory.