Sahar Sajadieh: Is Any-Body There? How to Make Technology Feel Alive

Black and white image of a person's eyes overlapped to create a blurring effect.

Sahar Sajadieh is a digital media and performance artivist (artist/activist) and scholar, born and raised in Iran. She graduated with a dual degree in computer science (B.S.) and theatre (B.A.) from the University of British Columbia, received her Master's degree in performance studies from the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and recently completed her Ph.D. in media arts and technology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Sahar designs and develops technologies that support emergent human rituals and interactive trends, and studies the human experience in our rapidly changing techno-social culture. She is interested in the application of digitally mediated interactivity, extended reality, machine learning, and virtual and robotic embodiments in live performances and public spheres as means of storytelling, poetic expression, and sociopolitical intervention. For Sahar, digital media practice is a form of activism, a way to challenge the public's comfort zone and provoke dialogues about difficult, unspoken issues in our communities and global society. Her research focuses on what constitutes liveness in (live) performances and how it can be replicated with technology. Her works have been presented in international digital arts symposia and human-computer interaction conferences such as ACM CHI, ACM Multimedia, ISEA, and AWMAS, as well as performance and interdisciplinary studies conferences such as PSi, ATHE, ASTR, and HASTAC, among other venues. Her most recent media artwork, Come Hither to Me, is an interactive robotic performance exhibited at CHI Interactivity 2019, in Glasgow, Scotland, in May 2019.

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