Computer Lab: Media Art in the Browser was a public art program offered by the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) in collaboration with the City of Ottawa in between July 20 and August 28, 2020. Computer Lab was tailored with the intention to guide a cohort of emerging-mid-career artists, based in Canada, to expand on their existing practice by learning to use new tools available for digital creation.
Over the course of 5 weeks, the artists Najeeba Ahmed, Deirdre Morisson and Mercedes Ventura met with facilitator Connor Byron via the internet in a learning experience focusing on making work inside of the web-browser. The media art works resulting from this program debuted in the exhibition In The Absence, which took place in October 2020 both virtually and in Ottawa’s downtown core. In these transitory public spaces, the works expanded upon general themes of movement, momentum and fluidity within these often bustling corridors. Artists developed work that moved with the public and engaged with the momentous, transitory stream of energy offered by the commuting passersby.
Najeeba Ahmed (they/them) is a transmedia designer, researcher and artist based in Ottawa. Their educational background at the University of Ottawa which included a Bachelors in Science with double major in Biology and Visual Arts, as well as their grassroots experience working for NGO’s in South Asia, informs the integration of various epistemological and ontological lenses within their work. Their interest in the entanglements between the past and the future, culture and technology, the virtual and the tangible are shaped by speculative, decolonial approaches that disrupt and destabilize the conception of the “normal”. Their work has been shown at the Ottawa Art Gallery and Gallery 115 to name a few. Najeeba is currently pursuing their masters in design at Carleton University and spending time rock climbing.
Conor Byron is a software developer and artist based in Ottawa, ON. Specializing in sound and graphics programming, he has designed and developed applications for screen-based platforms, installations, musical performances and theatre projects. Inspired by the tools and techniques of animation, video games and electronic music, he pursues new forms of intimate and meditative audiovisual software experiences.
Deirdre Morrison is a sound artist, composer, and audio post mixer who works with audio, video, and 3D environments to create immersive digital settings. As a freelance creative, Deirdre edits, mixes, and composes for independent features, short films, and documentaries. They hold a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ottawa and have completed programs in Music Industry Arts and Sound Design and Production. Deirdre produces experimental music and has performed at Pop Montreal and OXW. Their artistic practice is informed by an interest in new media and a fascination with the interaction between visual and auditory arts.
Mercedes Ventura in an emerging interdisciplinary artist based in Ottawa, Ontario. Mercedes’ work functions as autobiographical fiction examining ideas of identity, culture and social media. As a Guatemalan Canadian artist, Mercedes’ work is informed by the two cultures, her relationship to them and their relation to each other. She has been working on various photo, textile, and video projects as well as an Instagram account dedicated to performative self-portraits. In the spring of 2017, Mercedes received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Ottawa.