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A wavy lines photo effect headshot of Roopa: a medium-toned person with long black hair and bangs, against a white background.A wavy lines photo effect headshot of Roopa: a medium-toned person with long black hair and bangs, against a white background.

Roopa Vasudevan, Courtesy of the artist

With Roopa Vasudevan
Date and place of birth
b. 1984, Cleveland
Current location
Year(s) of residency and/or fellowship
2020, Rapid Response Fellow

How do you characterize the media you work in?

I work with net art and developing for the web, creating things like browser extensions and Web Native apps, but I also make components of those pieces as prints, self-published zines, and booklets; I’m interested in having multiple components of the same project exist in different kinds of digital and physical spaces.

How does your practice engage with technology?

My art practice has lately integrated the work I have done towards my PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, where my dissertation research looks at the relationships between new media artists and the technology industry. My project makes the argument that, while artists tend to view themselves as existing extraneously to the tech industry, they are very much embedded in it. The only way we can effectively maneuver around restrictions, biases, and surveillance in tech, is if we acknowledge that we are complicit in these systems; much of my artwork has been exploring these ideas and avenues for solidarity and change in the field.

Pictured is a wheatpasted poster with the words, "In my Practice, I"..." prompting the viewer to answer the question of "what do you use technology for? what do you use art for?" on a wall with scribbles of graffitti and tags in many colors.

Courtesy of the artist

What was your focus during your time at Eyebeam?

My project came out of thinking about how to subvert worrying practices in the technology industry while taking this subject position into consideration and it has evolved into an ongoing cultural organizing project called the Strategic Transparency Collective, made up of a network of practitioners who adhere to the same core values. I hold workshops that bring artists together in small groups to discuss ethical questions and trepidation about technological practices; at the end of the session we write manifestos to align our values and make commitments to our practices going forward.

Was there a culminating project?

I ran four workshops over the course of the fellowship and ended up keeping it as a core component of my dissertation research. The experience was formative for me in thinking through not only the workshop and social practice components but also larger arguments and core themes of my longer-term research.

Eyebeam models a new approach to artist-led creation for the public good; we are a non-profit that provides significant professional support and money to exceptional artists for the realization of important ideas that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Nobody else is doing this.

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