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Milad Forouzandeh

Milad was born and raised in Shiraz, Iran. He graduated in 2012 with a BA in visual communications from Shiraz Art Institute of Higher Education. His works have been nominated and selected in several biennales and events such as Shangyuan Art Museum, Tate Britain, The Wrong New Digital Art Biennale, NODE Forum for Digital Arts, Lisbon Film Rendezvous, among others. In 2014, he co-founded the Dar-Al-Hokoomeh Project (DAHproject) 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.

Based on his experience as an artist and curator in DAHproject, Milad developed his practice aiming at the investigation of human behavior and emotions, and the effects of culture in the past and present. Following this path, his work anticipates future cultural changes and how they assign meaning to our living experiences. Focusing on the use of contemporary and emerging technologies, his work tends to bridge the cultural timeline between past and future.


Net-based Garbage

2019

All social media platforms have their own structure and identity, as they serve their users by compelling them to accept certain terms and conditions. Therefore, the identity of many of these mass media products such as video games and social media apps have been hinged to the user character. In this case, the role of users is attributed to an “avatar” or “character”, thereby users can personalize the avatar by changing their appearance and other variables. As a matter of fact, avatars and characters in video games and social media act as a bridge between users and the net. Since the emergence of the internet and the subsequent rise of social media, millions of user accounts and various avatars have been created to date.

Some of these social media platforms are no longer in use and replaced by new progressive forms. Therefore, data and pictures that have been uploaded for many years by users all over the planet in order to change the appearance of avatars are now obsolete, inaccessible and accumulated on databases, due to stopping the development of old platforms. But as we know today, these forgotten avatars and their associated data –such as user’s living location, occupation, interests and habits– used to be in fact a valuable set of information for many companies and developers.

Now this project asks the following question: suppose we classify all data associated with each user accounts and then extract them for external uses, what happens to the avatar that is now stripped of the data that was personifying it? can we call this avatar a “residual” or “net-based garbage”?

Since the beginning of the Internet culture, avatars have been introduced as a virtual body to facilitate an online interaction between users, and eventually by extracting all the data out of these isolated avatars they have become an empty and useless shell, a trivia. This project also investigates whether the separation of the internet data from its corporeal body could eventually lead to a binary classification: practical data (the precious soul) vs. residual data (the trivial corpse)? And if so, due to exponentially technological growth, what kind of future we can imagine for such net-based garbage?


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