Roopa Vasudevan is a South Asian-American media artist, computer programmer and researcher, currently based in western Massachusetts (traditional and unceded Nipmuc/Potomuc/Nonotuck land).
Vasudevan’s work examines social and technological defaults and autopilots, and explores labor, duration, intentionality and critical self-reflection within our relationships with technology. Bridging Web technologies with tactile and sensory forms, she uses digital systems and tools that are prevalent in everyday life in poetic, unexpected, or reflective ways, surfacing social or political tensions in our taken-for-granted practices and questioning the breakneck speed of technological innovation. Through a varied creative toolkit that includes data collection practices, systems design, web development, and remix—alongside analog forms such as drawing, printmaking, and zine publication—she seeks to emphasize personal and human experiences, often on an individual or local level, in a time of Big Data and surveillance capitalism.
Vasudevan has exhibited her work internationally, and she has participated in residencies, taught workshops and classes, and spoken about her practice around the world. She has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to artist-led organizations, and has frequently worked with or exhibited in spaces that exist peripherally to mainstream institutions, including Flux Factory (Queens); SOHO20 Gallery (Brooklyn); SPACES (Cleveland); ABC No Rio (New York); AUTOMAT Collective (Philadelphia); Public Works Administration (New York); Space 1026 (Philadelphia); Unrequited Leisure (Nashville); Icebox Project Space (Philadelphia); Dunkunsthalle (New York); and Vox Populi (Philadelphia), where she was a member of the artist collective between 2019 and 2023. She was an Eyebeam Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future Fellow in 2020; and a member of the Art & Code track at NEW INC, the New Museum’s cultural incubator, from 2021 to 2023.
Vasudevan received an MPS from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2013, and was selected as an ITP Resident Research Fellow in academic year 2013-14. Between 2016 and 2018, she was an Assistant Arts Professor of Interactive Media Arts at NYU Shanghai. In 2023, she earned her PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, where her dissertation investigated the complex and involved relationships between new media artists and the tech industry. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Rapid Response Project
Vasudevan designed a practical toolkit for creative resistance through tech-based art. The toolkit is based on a theory that the artist has been developing, called “strategic transparency.” It is the notion that critical tech art relies too much on overt revelation and exposure, and that, instead, we could affect greater change by, in fact, taking advantage of conformity, or “blending into the background in key ways.” Phase 1 included a collectively written manifesto for the goals of this approach, as well as blueprints for several projects that use its principles.