Sahar Sajadieh is a digital performance & media artivist (artist/activist) and scholar and software developer, who was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. Sahar has completed her PhD in Media Arts and Technology program at UCSB, and is currently an ACLS postdoctoral fellow in Comparative Media Analysis and Practice (CMAP) at Vanderbilt University. She graduated from a dual degree program in Theatre (BA) and Computer Science (BSc) at The University of British Columbia, and received her Master’s Degree from the Performance Studies Program at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Sahar’s research lies at the intersection of interactive performance/media arts, human-computer interaction, and critical computing, making, and theories. She believes performance is a tool for the exploration of human identity, through the experimentation with the body and the space, and the interaction between them. She is interested in multimedia theater and performance art, and the creation of a universal performative language, which can speak beyond the borders of cultures and languages. Sahar designs and develops technologies that support emergent human rituals and interactions, and simultaneously studies the human experience in the different applications of new media. She believes art practice to be a powerful means for conducting research in Human-Machine Interaction and Performance & Media Studies.
Sahar is interested in the implementation of digital technology in performing arts and the creation of an intelligent performance space, which interacts with the performer’s body. Her doctoral research focuses on the application of HCI, Computer Graphics, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and Digital Media Technology in performance space. She uses performance as a model of analysis and (digital) performance practice as a research methodology. In her dissertation, Sahar explores the notion of liveness in performances in which the live performer’s body is removed from the performance equation and replaced by digitally mediated or synthesized performers on stage. She has created different types of non-human performers, such as virtual actors, tele-present bodies, and projected video puppets to replace human performers on stage, and then analyzed the impact of these applications on the perception of the spectators and the transmission of sensation and affect during their interactions with the non-human bodies. To this end, Sahar created a research methodology called, “Digital Performance Revisit as Research,” and has applied it as her main research methodology in her doctoral research. By developing and performing three case studies — three digital revisits of well-known performance artworks in the history of performance art — she has studied mediated liveness and presence in the context of her performance objects, by drawing connections to the old performance art works they were inspired by.
As a theater artist, she has written, directed, performed, and worked as a dramaturge in several theatrical performances in New York, Vancouver, and Santa Barbara. Her digital artworks and interactive performances were also exhibited in various countries, both in digital/electronic art festivals and interactive arts exhibitions at computer science conferences. Her recent media artwork was an interactive robotic performance, “Come Hither to Me,” exhibited at CHI Interactivity 2019, at Glasgow, Scotland, in May 2019.