Episode 96: Survival Kits (w/ Ali Fathollahi)

Photo credit: Mikayla Whitmore

Hi everyone. I hope you are doing well. I want to first say my heart goes out to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas community following the tragic shooting that occurred on December 6th. Through the podcast, I had the privilege of connecting with many at UNLV and my thoughts are with you all. 

It’s important to acknowledge that while prayers and sympathies are extended, they can only do so much in the face of the ongoing issues surrounding gun violence and the accessibility of firearms. This recent event is but one of the many somber reminders of the urgent need for meaningful change in gun control. How exactly to do this I myself am still figuring out in a country still glorifying guns.

This incident ties into some of the concerns I’ll be discussing with this week’s guest, Ali Fathollahi, an Iranian artist currently residing in Las Vegas. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Ali’s wife, Nanda, and you can listen to that conversation as well. Ali holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and went to the Azad University of Art and Architecture in Tehran, Iran for his Bachelor of Arts and his first Master of Fine Arts.

Ali works in a wide variety of mediums, such as sculpture, light, and performance. In recent years, his work has critically examined the contemporary obsession with “Survivalism,” both as a lifestyle and an ideology, often driven by fear and nostalgia. During our conversation, we delve into topics such as the challenges of language, the use of humor as a coping mechanism, and how pop culture influences our fascination with survival kits. As always, stay safe and healthy and I hope you enjoy this.

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