This article reveals how engagements with the photographic archives of premodern Iran and the Persian carpet break open transtemporal, affective, and queer interplays in diaspora. Examining a digital remix of a photograph of a Qajar princess, ‘Ismat al-Dowlah, from the archives of nineteenth-century Iran, the article argues that the digital (mis)use of archives exposes what forms such as the Persian carpet and photography erase: each medium's close ties with power, labor, gender, and sexuality. It develops a relational approach to understandings of photography that highlights the performative registers for a diasporic gaze while also troubling the imperial investment in understanding photography's history and its practices as a new technology that developed in the nineteenth century. This work considers how unlearning the history of Qajar photography entails deemphasizing the Qajar's king Naser Al Din Shah's fascination with photography's technological newness and instead exposes what desires his fascination was tethered to. This piece brings into conversation techno-historical overlaps between carpet weaving, the Jacquard machine, and computational arts, opening up critical questions about gender vis-à-vis production, labor, and computation within both carpets and computers as media interface.

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