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© Morehshin Allahyari

Morehshin Allahyari

She Who Sees the Unknown:

Ya’jooj Ma’jooj, 2017

The Qur’an tells of how Allah gave Alexander the Great power to build an iron wall to separate humans from the Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj tribes who ravaged empires in Asia and Europe. Thus, in response to former President Trump’s ban on Muslims, Allahyari re-appropriates ancient Middle Eastern monstrous female figures as Ya’jooj Ma’jooj by 3D-scanning them to re-tell the story of those considered ‘other’ or ‘monstrous’. 


From an undefined pixel mass, her video work slowly reveals more and more visual data of a monstrous body. The dematerialization of the image symbolizes how ancient myths become even more precarious in the digital realm, since corporations profit from the cultural artefacts of others. In contrast, by using open-source software to redistribute forgotten cultural artifacts, Allahyari’s video re-imagines monsters from the mythological past to provoke better analogue and virtual futures.

Ida Schyum, 

 cand.mag in art history