Born in Tehran, Amir Parsa attended French international schools in Iran and the U.S., studied at Princeton and Columbia, currently lives in New York, and directs trans/neodisciplinary initiatives at Pratt Institute.
An internationally acclaimed writer, poet, translator, newformist and cultural designer and curator, he is the author of more than twenty literary works, including Kobolierrot, Feu L’encre/Fable, Erre, and L’opéra minora, a 440-page multilingual book that is in the MoMA Library Artists’ Books collection and in the Rare Books collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
An uncategorizable body of work, his literary œuvre—written directly in English, French, Farsi, Spanish and various hybrids—constitutes a radical polyphonic enterprise that puts into question national, cultural and aesthetic attachments while fashioning innovative genres, discursive endeavors and types of literary artifacts. Launched in 2016 with Le Chaise (Yes, Le), a newly fashioned species are the ‘clandies’, works characterized by their clandestine dissemination.
In 2015, two of his books were reissued by UpSet Press, Tractatüus Philosophiká-Poeticüus and Drive-by Cannibalism in the Baroque Tradition. That same year, he launched his ‘Seasons of the Manifestoes Global Barnstorm’, a multi-year lecture/performance venture with stops in various geographic locations and related to a number of disciplines and emerging fields. He was invited to deliver the annual Samuel H. Kress Lecture in Museum Education at The Frick Collection in June 2015, while ‘The Multilingual Literature Manifesto’ was delivered in an actual barn during his Marble House Project residency in Dorset, Vermont in August 2015. Other manifestoes relate to innovative museum practices (Museo Equis), radical artworks (the theoretical foundations of Le Chaise (Yes, Le) and of The Complete NothingDoings), adventurous and artistic pathmaking (RiDE: On, the catalogue of the first three years of the Risk/Dare/Experiment series that he created and curated at Pratt Institute), along with a new world literature and the new literary epic.
Parsa has instigated his unique encantations, readations and bassadigas, and conducted more traditional lectures, workshops and playshops on avant-garde poetics, literary/artistic innovation, critical education praxis and cultural design at museums and organizations across the world, including Norway, Mexico, France, Brazil, India and Spain. As a Lecturer and Educator at The Museum of Modern Art, he developed and directed programs, projects, and learning experiences for a wide range of audiences, including the community partnerships, Wider Angles, Double Exposures and the Singular Educational Experience (SEE) entitled 1913: That Year This Time—a multidisciplinary course that took place over twelve hours in MoMA’s galleries and classrooms. He also conceptualized and created the PinG (Poets in the Galleries) program at the Queens Museum in 2007, the Rooftop Roars & Riverside Revolutions in uptown Manhattan, and the RiDE episodes at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
With colleagues, students, and friends, he has launched in recent years the BookPub and the Translation Innovation Ensemble among other initiatives, while spearheading avant-garde actions and changes in both museums and higher education at various levels. He also directs and orchestrates his own trans/neo disciplinary and literary/artistic/performative troupe, The Elastic Circus of the Revolution.
He is currently at work on several series and suites, including La Pentalogia del Delirio, The Micro-Epic Decalogy and ¡ôwhatarevolution! , a projected eleven-piece suite of works exploring, interrogating and analyzing political ‘revolution’ through various mediums, languages, strategies and discourses. He was the artist-in-residence at The Museum of Modern Art in Bologna in June 2015 and June 2016, where he worked with a group of participants on cantos of ÉPÏKÂNÕVÀ, his ongoing, polylingual literary epic.
Parsa’s curatorial interjections, performances, conceptual pieces and subversions, along with photographic, participatory and exhibition-based projects have taken place in a host of galleries, public spaces and environments. Overall and through the years, his books, transgressive literary works, artistic fusions and neo-disciplinary interventions and disruptions have dazzled and bedeviled, enchanted and pissed off, drawn praise and scorn, and punctured many an emperor’s balloons. He has also operated and engaged in various artistic, cultural and political theaters under a number of pseudonyms.