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Afroditi Psarra

Afroditi Psarra, Ph.D. is a multidisciplinary artist and an Associate Professor of Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at the University of Washington, where she runs the DXARTS Softlab. Her research focuses on the art and science interaction with a critical discourse in the creation of artifacts. She is interested in the use of the body as an interface of control, and the revitalization of tradition as a methodology of hacking existing norms about technical objects. She uses cyber crafts and other gendered practices as speculative strings and open-source technologies as educational models of diffusing knowledge. Sound plays an extremely important role in her practice. She adheres to its use as a verbal and gestural language to analyze the ever-changing technological environment we inhabit. Her work has been presented at international media art festivals such as Ars Electronica, Transmediale and CTM, Eyeo, Amber, Piksel, Athens and Epidaurus Festival, and WRO Biennale between others, museums and cultural centers such the National Museum of Contemporary Arts, Athens, Bozar, Onassis Stegi, Walker Art Center, etc., and published at conferences like Siggraph, ISWC (International Symposium of Wearable Computers), DIS (Designing Interactive Systems), C&C (Creativity and Cognition), and EVA (Electronic Visualization and the Arts). In the past three years she has been cultivating her curatorial practice through the radio show Transmission Ecologies at Movement Radio Athens where she features every month different artists exploring the world of radio art and electromagnetic interference. Afroditi is based in Seattle, WA, USA.

Artist Statement:

Ventriloquist Ontology

My research focuses on the interweaving of art and science through the creation of artifacts with a critical lens. I see the praxis of crafting technological artifacts as an act of resistance against black box systems. One that contains embodied knowledge and carries with it oral histories of intergenerational practices. I believe that the ability to craft your own technology is a powerful tool for world-building, one that enables you to speculate about alternative presents and plausible futures. My practice builds on and extends the work of Cyber and Techno-Feminism(s) and the idea of female bodies as matrices of binary information. Drawing on feminist hybridizations of information and materiality, and the idea of SF (String Figures, Speculative Fabulations, Science Facts, Science Fictions, etc.) as articulated by Haraway (Donna Haraway: SF, Speculative Fabulation and String Figures: 100 Notes, 100 Thoughts: Documenta Series 033, 2012) I juxtapose the fragility of textiles (its physical and metaphorical softness), with the hardness of data systems (physical infrastructures that support data collection and archiving). Involving practice and research, my artwork manifests through tactile artifacts. I produce these objects through a variety of techniques, including data physicalization, cyber physical archival work, wearable and e-textile interface development, sound performances, and field recordings, as well as interdisciplinary collaborations. Over the past few years, my work has explored energetic phenomena like electromagnetic radiation, particle physics, and technologies such as radio-frequency sensing, fractal antennas, and software-defined radio. More recently, I have delved into Machine Learning and Internet-of-Things devices, exploring topics of embodiment and cognition, and the extension of the body through technological artifacts. Sound plays an extremely important role in my practice. I adhere to its use as a verbal and gestural language to analyze the ever-changing technological environment we inhabit. I employ sound as a carrier of meaning to understand the world that surrounds us through psychogeographical explorations, and as a feedback mechanism to interpret processes both internal and external to our bodies. By combining the energetic qualities of sound, the tactility of textiles, and the performativity embedded into crafting artifacts, I purposefully seek to create physical archives and ways in which others can relate to and understand my work.

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