DM

Divya Mehra is a writer and artist, among other things. She is a Scorpio, which (she’s been told) is evident when you meet her. She has a masters in Economics and another in Art and Technology and can't say what happened in the years between except that it was right. She is not mocking you; it's just her tone of voice. She tries to avoid calling herself a “Brooklyn-based creative,” but secretly enjoys it as the one privilege afforded to her in return for living in a city with astronomical rent. She is a Brooklyn-based creative. She, and 1.4 million other people. >

And Beyond*

Simran is Idle

Oozing Out Of Office: the aesthetics of slow burn surrealist rebellion

The Game of Work
(upcoming)

Topics in Media Art: Visual Vocabulary*

Aesopica

The Semiotics of A Movement: A Visual Exploration of Reproductive Rights*

Adjacent, Online Journal of Emerging Media*

Experiments in 3D: The SolutionTM

My Sweet Talker, Your Sugar Water*

The Giraffes Are Serenading Us
(upcoming)

satisfaction guaranteed

And Beyond is a short story about a couple finds themselves in a strange cooler situation. It's the accidental gift that won't stop giving.

A fun (unrelated) fact: there are thousands of Yeti coolers floating in the ocean.

This story was published in The Paris Review in March 2022.

Excerpt

We found it on Craigslist. Squat and cylindrical with portholes circling beneath a steel dome, misleading us to believe a wide-eyed alien might pop its darling head out any minute. It sat proudly in the center of the driveway of Adam77’s two-story stucco house in Bay Ridge. Its orange paint had rusted to mustard. Adam77 had taken care to mention this in their emails to us, along with strict pick-up instructions. We approached it cautiously, the sunlight cutting our charred feet into oblique shapes. Cracks around the edges revealed an aluminum base. A relic of some other universe, it promised to “keep everything cold and fresh for months!!!”
The Status of Simran is a multimedia story about a woman's life told via Instagram. All visuals are digitally created, because any resemblance to people, things, and places, in real life are merely coincidental.

Tools: Daz3D, Cinema4D, Stable Diffusion, Unreal Engine, After Effects, iPhone, My Very Human Imagination

Sample Tiles

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The Semiotics of a Movement: A Visual Exploration of Reproductive Rights is a series of articles on the political branding of the anti-abortion and abortion rights movement.

Excerpt (Introduction)

I was on vacation when the news broke. On vacation in 2022— i.e., still highly attuned to my phone, and the entire world contained within it. I saw the verdict immediately, filtered through reactions in the form of 140 characters, memes, reels, gifs, and later: op-eds, essays, full reports. A stockpile of stimuli, built upon the intent to persuade. My friend and I spent the afternoon updating our feeds at an internet cafe on the outskirts of Barcelona. We fell into our presumed roles, and a familiar sort of nihilism, continuing to scroll into oblivion. Something managed to capture our attention: a series of Instagram stories where photo director Emily Keegin dissected the fraught visual history of the abortion debate.

How did the visual and written ephemera surrounding reproductive freedom come to be? How has the proliferation of this content managed to hide its motives within plain sight?

Intangible Cultural Heritage is a website archiving items from UNESCO's list of endangered intangible cultural heritage elements since 2008. Borrowing from Derrida's Archive Fever, it questions whether it's possible to archive "culture" and the knotty questions around what we choose to save versus discard as the designated online archiver. Try to save culture to bag with the click of a button. Scroll through baguettes, ancient scripting, and ask yourself: is something better than nothing?

Tools: Python, HTML/CSS/JS, Glitch

Sample Views

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Topics in Media Art: Visual Vocabulary is an NYU undergraduate-level Interactive Media Arts course I teach along with motion designer and illustrator Shira Seri Levi. Part-theory part-practice, it surveys visuals and texts in different fields. It takes students from ideation to execution with a strong bias toward placing one's work in context.

Course Description and Sample Assignments

Once representing well-being in ancient Egypt, the eye now calls to mind surveillance and big tech. How do visual symbols evolve overtime? The coat hanger serves as a reminder of a time when women were compelled to seek out illegal abortions. Is it still effective, despite the reality that pills are used today? Should symbols reflect reality? How do we choose effective metaphors?

This class combines theory and practice. We will examine the visual lexicon of media – its importance, motifs, constructions, and disparate meanings – and invite students to reimagine (or re-image) social and political issues, given the ethical considerations that surround it. This will provide a deeper understanding of how their work will continue to live on in the world.

Read: Black Papers
Read: How Long Has This Been Going On? Harper's Bazaar, Funny Face, and the Construction of the Modernist Woman
View: Counternarratives, Alexandra Bell
Watch: Reading the Pictures

Exercise:

Exercise:


Oozing Out of Office: The Surrealist Aesthetics of Slow Burn Rebellion is an article on film & tv goo.

This article was commissioned by and published in The Dirt. It was inspired by everyone's favorite Severance character, Irving.


Excerpt

Yes, Pastor is a short story about a weekend wedding trip to South Carolina gone awry.

This story was published in BOMB Magazine in April 2023.

Excerpt

The face of an English Bulldog and caramel syrup dribbling down a stubby white chin was the last memory I had of Ben Crawford. He’d just spilled a popsicle all over my new parka. You little shit,I muttered and stormed off on my tricycle with my righteous tapered chin in the air.

The little shit was getting hitched.

“Someone named Marla Marbles,” I said into the phone, reading the invitation.

“Sounds made-up,” Alia replied. Her raspy voice filtered through in pieces as she moved to her balcony, the only place in her rental where she got decent signal. If I had to guess, she was wearing one of her two outfits: the black dress or the black vest. Hair tossed into thin strands of bleached firecrackers; long limbs pressed against the wrought-iron railing.

“Marbles is real. There’s a photo.” On the back of the invitation, two overjoyed faces peered at each other, as if in awe of the other’s existence. One of them was Ben: still stubby, but in a handsome gruff sort of way. He’d grown into himself, a phrase I now understood. The smiles were forced.

“Maybe you like thinking that.”

“I just don’t like lies,” I said, bringing the picture closer for a second round of scrutiny. “Ben Crawford’s still a little shit.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Listen to this: wild roses and champagne are our love language. Find us underneath the stars at midnight.”

“Don’t be bitter, Fran.”

“Alia, will you join me under the stars at midnight?”

“Only if you bring me wild roses.” At this, she laughed, interrupted by a hawker outside, with whom she started haggling over lychees in her broken Urdu and left the phone.  
The SolutionTM is your answer to wellness. An all-in-one formula so you never have to look elsewhere again.

Tools: Cinema4D, Unreal Engine


Branding

Adjacent: The Online Journal of Emerging Media is a journal published by ITP/IMA at NYU. I was Managing Editor ('21-'22) and Resident Advisor ('22-'23). Prior to these roles, I was an editor at the journal.

Sample Issues & Zines

Aesopica is a 3D virtual and physical installation of nightmarish bedtime stories, inspired by Alexander Calder's mobiles, Aesop Fables, and adulthood.

Tools: Cinema4D, Unreal Engine, 3D Printing, Fabrication

Sample Images

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Click here for client work in creative/narrative direction & interactive media [password-protected].