Mona Kasra is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media Design at the University of Virginia (UVa). She received her Ph.D. in Arts and Technology, with a focus in emerging media & communication, from the University of Texas at Dallas. A cross-disciplinary scholar, Mona examines political and theoretical questions about the power of online images in our digital culture and cross-culturally in her research. She has presented her work at various conferences, including The Society for Photographic Education (SPE), The Society for Literature Science and the Arts (SLSA), Union for Democratic Communications (UDC), SXSW Interactive, and Social Media & Society.
Mona is committed to transdisciplinary and collaborative modes of scholarship, as her work has thrived in collaborative spaces such as ACM SIGGRAPH, Digital Societies and Social Technologies (DSST) Institute, and the HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) Scholars program, an online scholarly community funded by the MacArthur Foundation. In 2016, she served as the ACM SIGGRAPH Conference Chair, undertaking an engaged service role in the strategic planning, leading, and managing of the world’s largest, most influential annual conference on the theory and practice of computer graphics and interactive techniques.
Aside from research, Mona is a creative practitioner who has exhibited work in numerous exhibitions, both in gallery and online settings. She employs video editing, remapping and spatial techniques (through the use of multiple projections) to address theoretical concerns that arise from her research inquiries. In her more recent work, she appropriates socially engaged networked photographs and examines both the aesthetics and the dialogue generated by online activists through these images. She has served on the Board of Directors for Video Association of Dallas and has managed, programmed, curated, and juried for several film festivals and exhibition, art exhibitions, and lecture series.
She is an active member of the DWZ , a Dallas-based artist collective of performance, visual, sound, and installation artists dedicated to post-disciplinary, place-based explorations of new, old and yet to be revealed forms of performance. The DWZ mission is to develop a unique Dallas aesthetic and encourage original, experimental, and collectively created work that defies categories and convention as it seeks to unravel the complexities of our time, culture, and place.
Mona’s passion for the convergence of visual art and new media perhaps best manifest itself in Expanded Cinema, a site-specific program she curated for the Video Association of Dallas in 2013. Named after a seminal text by new media art theorist Gene Youngblood, the event highlighted video’s potential as a fine art medium. The participating media artists displayed their site-specific short films on the four curved, outer LED surface of the OMNI Hotel, while a crowd of several hundred viewers gathered in downtown Dallas to witness the unveiling of this artistic showcase on the largest canvas in North Texas. The soundtrack of the screening was simulcast on the local radio station KXT 91.7 FM.
In 2005, Mona joined Collage Ensemble, a Los Angeles Arts Collective of inter-disciplinary artists collaborating on multi-media artwork related to urban life and inter-ethnic experiences. Since then, together with artist Alan Nakagawa, they worked on several collaborative art projects including “LA Menu Munchies,” a dynamic video poetry of food, story and digital portraiture which was premiered at the Japanese American Museum of Art in Los Angeles in September 2006, and a site-specific sound installation/performance, “Mammoth,” celebrating the opening of the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts’ Transformation/ Phase One in February 2008. In addition to Collage Ensemble, Mona was a core member of inter.sect Art Collective comprised of a group of digital artists who used new media platforms to explore digital exhibition spaces outside the traditional gallery model. inter.sect’s last collaboration, SecondHand, was an online new media exhibition on 12seconds.tv involving visual translations of text via mobile phones.
She holds a B.A. in Graphic Design and an M.F.A. in Video/Digital Art, and since 2002, She has been teaching Digital Art, Design, and Media courses at various academic institutions. From 2013 to 2014, Mona was an artist-in-residence at CentralTrak Artist Residency & Gallery.
photo: Alisa Levy