Ryat Yezbick


Ryat Yezbick’s practice is highly interdisciplinary and research-based. A former cultural anthropologist, they use qualitative research methods to investigate U.S. cultural relationships to witnessing, group identity and contemporary morals in the era of digital surveillance and decentralized global conflict. However, unlike cultural anthropologists, they figure their experience centrally in their work, rooting these themes in a complex set of questions around security, home, gender, family, love, violence, power and responsibility.



Yezbick’s work stems from their experience as a non-binary, transmasculine Arab-American person raised in a Charismatic (Pentecostal) Catholic church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As a child, they often felt confused about their simultaneous desire to belong and the distinct feeling that they were not of the community, learning to perform a position to fit in with the group for fear they were being watched by a wrathful god. God was their first encounter with surveillance technologies. Today, these experiences inform their work as an artist, examining the ways in which people on the margins aesthetically take on and perform the moral majority within their communities as a kind of “threat management” strategy. Exploring the costs and benefits of these strategies — through live performance, 3D digital assets, experimental documentary and installation — is a key component of their practice.



They are a California Institute of the Arts MFA graduate, published author, multi-time grant recipient, organizer, facilitator and arts consultant for institutions and universities. Their work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, Melbourne, Glasgow and Athens, and in notable group exhibitions and performances at the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Los Angeles), REDCAT (Los Angeles), Materials & Applications (Los Angeles), Human Resources (Los Angeles), The Akademie Schloss Solitude (Stuttgart), The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Glasgow International 2018 (Glasgow), The Banff Center for the Arts and Creativity (Banff), Gertrude Contemporary (Melbourne), Space One (Seoul), the Bangkok Biennial MAHA Pavilion (Bangkok), LAXART (Los Angeles), Craft Contemporary (Los Angeles) and the Queer Biennial (Los Angeles).



At OpenDocLab, Yezbick will work on The Innocence of Unknowing, a multi-platform project that investigates the history of news media coverage of mass shootings in the U.S. since 1957.