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Open Screen 2022 Artist Discussion: Rebecca Edwards in conversation with Natalee Decker, MH Sarkis and Milad Forouzandeh

As part of the annual arebyte Open Screen open call, we invite Open Screen winners Natalee, MH, and Milad to discuss their commissions alongside arebyte curator Rebecca Edwards.

The event discusses arebyte’s Open Screen open call, as well as the body and travel in relation to digital art practices and how the artists apply practices within the wider context of working in the disability arts space.

Natalee Decker (they/them) is a Chicago born Los Angeles based artist currently pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles in Design|Media Arts and Disability Studies. Via a multidisciplinary practice, they investigate disability aesthetics, technology, and crip fantasy. Their recent work utilizes 3D computer graphics to creatively reimagine the mobility devices – walkers, scooters, wheelchairs, canes – they use each day, imbuing them with fluid impractical form, vivid celebratory color, and questions about desirability. Along with artist Cielo Saucedo they are creating a web archive of digital disabled embodiment using motion capture and 3D modeling software. This project relies on collaboration to create custom “terms of use,” challenging issues of safety, exclusion, and exploitation of disabled people in digital space. In 2020, Natalee helped form the UCLA Disabled Student Union working towards better equity and access on campus. They are passionate about mutual aid, social justice, and love. Natalee is a white, disabled, non-binary queer.

MH Sarkis (b. 1990) is a London-based mixed new media artist who is a 2021 graduate of the Goldsmiths Masters of Fine Art Programme and recipient of the 2021 Almacantar prize. Sarkis’s work has appeared in more than a dozen solo and group exhibitions across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Her art has been featured in the Saatchi Art Contemporary Surrealists collection, and appeared in the 2018 Shape Open showcase.

Through a blend of traditional mediums, CGI, film, responsive robotics, and machine learning, MH Sarkis’s work seeks to explore female experience, relational dynamics, and applications of soft power within frameworks of potential posthumanisms and techno-protopias. Her latest projects, such as PΛNΛCΞΛ, exemplify these concerns while highlighting the importance of interactivity to her creative process – the works are not only physically shaped and re-arranged in real time based on audience responses, these interactions and their data serve to inform Sarkis’s future creations, as well, creating a sort of “genetic memory” that expresses itself in each new piece.

Milad Forouzandeh ( M i l a d . j p g ) was born and raised in Shiraz, Iran. He graduated in 2012 with a BA in visual communications from Shiraz Art Institute of Higher Education, with an approach in digital and new media art, where he also acted as a teachers’ assistant. In 2010, he won the title of top young Iranian visual artist. His works have been nominated and selected in biennales and events in Shangyuan Art Museum, Tate Britain, MUNCH Museum, Hard Disk Museum, 30 Seconds Museum Tokyo, The Wrong New Digital Art Biennale, NODE Forum for Digital Arts, CADAF contemporary and digital art fair, Art Dubai 2021 and etc. In 2014, Miald founded the “Dar-Al-Hokoomeh Project” with Mohsen Hazrati, an independent new media art project based in Shiraz with a vision to create a community dedicated to emerging artistic practices, workshops, talks, presentations, and exhibitions. In 2016, Milad began lecturing as an assistant professor in his alma mater, teaching Digital Arts courses. In 2017, Milad was invited as one of the guest speakers on the “Mollasadra St” episode of TEDx video series.

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