Dr Maryam Tafakory

Research project: the zina of the i/eye: accidental findings on touching and prohibition


written as a collection of fragmented stories, this thesis dissects the figure of touch: its bodily and non-bodily manifestations, its neither tangible nor intangible representations, its neither subjective nor objective nature. it offers a fragile map of touching without touching: a contact at a distance. a tact without contact.

prohibition is the productive site of this research. touching that which interdicts touch and the regulatory bodies that legislate and control it. 

  • Research degree: Practice-based PhD
  • Title of project: the zina of the i/eye: accidental findings on touching and prohibition
  • Research supervisor: Dr Dean Kenning
  • Other research supervisor: Professor Fran Lloyd


I work with textual and filmic collages, interweaving poetry, ethnography, archival and found material. Screenings and exhibitions of my work include: Whitechapel Gallery; Rotterdam IFFR; Edinburgh EIFF; Zurich Film Festival; Melbourne MIFF; ZINEBI; Hamburg IKFF; ICA London; BFI London; Ji.hlava IDFF; Kurzfilmtage Winterthur; Barbican Cinema London; UnionDocs NY; and Anthology Film Archives NY.

My work has received several awards including Best Short Film at DocumentaMadrid, and nominations include, Tiger Award and Found Footage Award at 47th IFFR; Best Short Award at 67th MIFF; and Best Documentary Short at 22nd JI.HLAVA IDFF amongst others. 

In 2019, I was invited as the Flaherty/Colgate Distinguished Global Filmmaker in Residence. My work has been exhibited at VIDEONALE, as well as Bloomberg New Contemporaries, and was awarded two (2017, 2019) Aesthetica Emerging Art Prize (York). 

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Areas of research interest

  • impossible tacts/prohibition
  • plural subjectivity
  • auto-fiction
  • experimental documentary
  • cryptic forms
  • self/other
  • anti documentary/ethnography


  • MA Fine Art, Oxford University
  • PhD Fine Art, Kingston University

Funding or awards received

  • Fully-funded PhD Studentship, Kingston University
  • Artist Commission/grant, FVU (Film and Video Umbrella)
  • Flaherty/Colgate Distinguished Global Filmmaker Residency
  • Artist Commission/grant, Asian Film Archive
  • KSA Conference Funding
  • Iran Heritage Foundation Award
  • EASA Conference Grant
  • Aesthetica Emerging Art Prize 2017 & 2019




Conference papers

Jouissance in Iranian Sacred Defence Cinema. In: Film-Philosophy Conference. University of Brighton. UK. 2019

Undoing Authenticity. In: International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences' (IUAES) Inter-Congress. 2019

Rewriting Failure. In: SAR. 10th International Conference on Artistic Research. Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). 2019

Iham and Eroticism in Iranian Sacred Defence Cinema. In: Symposia Iranica's Biennial Conference on Iranian Studies. University of St Andrews. Scotland. 2019

Poem and Stone. EASA (The European Association of Social Anthropologists) Biennial Conference. 2018