Irit Rogoff is one of the initiators of the transdisciplinary field of Visual Culture and founder of the department at Goldsmiths. Her initiatives to establish this new field are led by a belief that we must work beyond bodies of inherited disciplinary knowledge and find motivation for knowledge production in the current conditions we are living out.
Her 1997 essay “Studying Visual Culture” (The Visual Culture Reader, ed. N. Mirzoeff, 1998, 2nd ed. 2002) articulated some of the substantive and methodological strands of this new field as a meeting ground between the philosophical, the political and contemporary creative practices.
In a series of ensuing texts Rogoff further expanded concerns in the field into participatory practices (“Looking Away – Participations in Visual Culture” in Art After Criticism, 2004 ) and the emergence of the curatorial as events of knowledge in the so called “Educational Turn” (‘Turning” e-flux Journal 2008 and ‘Education Actualised’ special issue of e-flux journal no.14, 2010, “Smuggling – An Embodied Criticality” 2008 , 2013 and “The Expanding Field” in The Curatorial, 2013).
Another strand of Rogoff’s work concerns geography, counter cartography and questions of Globalization. In publications such as “Terra Infirma – Geography’s Visual Culture” 2000, “Engendering Terror” (Geography and the Politics of Mobility 2002) , ‘The Where of Now’ (Time Zones, Tate Modern 2004), ‘GeoCultures – Circuits of Art and Globalization” (Open, no 16 , 2009) ‘Oblique Points of Entry” (Contemporary Art from the Middle East 2015) – Rogoff has explored how critical perspectives and emergent subjectivities form the basis for alternative understandings of the relations between subjects, places and spaces.
Rogoff works between academic teaching, theoretical writing, curatorial projects and organizing public study. Together with colleagues she formed the freethought collective in 2011 and they are co-curating The Bergen Assembly in 2016.
PHD Courtauld Institute of Art, 1987, “The Public Self – Self Portraits and Ideologies in German Modernism”
Between 1989 and 1997 Rogoff taught at UC Davis where she brought together graduate programs in Art and in Critical Theory under the aegis of Visual Culture.
From 1997 to the present Rogoff has been Professor of Visual Culture at Goldsmiths, building the department and several doctoral programs including “Curatorial/Knowledge’ the first dedicated international PH.D program in theorizing the curatorial.
Her teaching has consistently brought together theoretical analysis and collective independent research projects and explored emergent new possibilities of practice based research as an intellectual project.
Rogoff currently teaches ‘Globalization’ in MA CAT, the Curatorial/Knowledge M.Res and PH.D programs and heads the PH.D in Visual Culture.
Between 2012-2016 Rogoff held a visiting chair at Aalto University Helsinki in the CuMma program.
Area of supervision:
Given her overarching interest in critical epistemology and questions of contemporary research modes. Rogoff areas of supervision include: vectors of knowledge production in contemporary art, questions of the curatorial, contemporary participatory culture, questions of education beyond institutions and critical perspectives in global circuits.
As a curator and public organisor Rogoff has been involved in a series of exhibitions, the public programs they generate and the possibility of constituting public study platforms at the edges of numerous occasions. These activities have often been referred to as ‘The Educational Turn’.
Projects such as A.C.A.D.E.M.Y (2005-6, Hamburg Kunstverein, MuHka Antwerp VanAbbe, Eindhoven) brought together large groups of intellectuals, curators, architects and artists to pose questions about the forms that learning might take within public institutional culture. (book A.C.A.D.E.M.Y (I.Rogoff, A. Nollert, B. de Baere, C.Esche, Revolver 2005)
“Deregulation – with the work of Kutlug Ataman “ (MuHka Antwerp, Herziliya Mus. Of Contmp. Art 2005-6) explored how the work of a contemporary artist might provide pathways into a broader understanding of a culture by wrapping the art work in several layers of archives and performative reflection.
As part of the freethought collective – continuing from several initial projects at the Steirerischer Herbst Festival 2011 and at Former West 2013 – a project investigating Infrastructure as affective economies and subjective membranes within world structures, will be one strand of the Bergen Assembly 2016.
The projects included numerous investigations by individual members of freethought, the Infrastructure Summit, a reinstantiation London’s fabled Partisan café, an assemblage of archives, and will culminate in a publication “The Infrastructural Condition” in 2017-18.
- Seriousness, co-authored with Gavin Butt, Sternberg Press: London, 2013
- “Education Actualised,” E-flux journal special issue no.14 (Guest editor, Editorial and essay “FREE”) March 2012
- A.C.A.D.E.M.Y., co-eds. Angelika Nollert and Irit Rogoff, Revolver 2006.
- Terra Infirma - Geography’s Visual Culture, Routledge (London and New York),2001
- Museum Culture – Histories, Discourses, Spectacles (with Daniel Sherman) Minnesota 1994, Routledge 1998.
“The Expanded Field: Actors, Agents, Platforms”, keynote lecture, 3rd Former West Congress, BAK, Vienna Academy of Art 2012
A Pantheon of Disenchantment, lecture at Weaving Politics Symposium, Stockholm 2012 (audio only)
“Taking Part”, lecture at BAK, Utrecht NL 2008
Exhausted Geographies, keynote lecture, Crossing Boundaries Symposium, INIVA, London 2010
My practice is one of both academic research as well as in the practices of curating and organizing.
I am interested in untangling the seemingly naturalized relations of subjects and places, in the constitution of sites and spaces that can not be cohered under the proper names on nations, regions, identities or identities and in the cultural and artistic practices that have emerged from mobilities, dislocations and states of extreme and prolonged conflict and the terroristic as the undermine the certainties of belonging, stability and emplacement.
Two books “Terra Infirma – Geography’s Visual Culture” (2001) and “Unbounded – Limits’ Possibilities” (2010) have dealt with such issues as has a major curatorial project “De-Regulation - with the work of Kutlug Ataman “ an exhibition project (Antwerp 2006, Herzilya 2007, Berlin 2010) accompanied by symposia, book and international summer school in ‘Relational Geographies’ Berlin 2010 and funded by the Bundeskuturstiftung.
In addition I directed a major AHRC research Center on “Translating the Image – Cross Cultural Contemporary Arts” 2000-2005 with several research fellows (Isaac Julian, Janice Cheddie,) PH.D researchers, conferences and a book “TransCoding” (2010)
Participation and Education
Another aspect of my research is to do with ‘the participatory turn’ in contemporary art and in interventionist and educational practices. My forthcoming book Looking Away – Participating Singularities, Ontological Communities (2011) builds on work I published and curated in recent years and which asks the question on what does it mean to take part in culture beyond the roles that culture allots us for that kind of involvement. Curatorial project linked to this research thematic include “ Academy – Learning and Teaching “ (Vanabbemuseum NL 2006) and “Summit – Non Aligned Initiatives in Education Culture” (Berlin 2007)
Publications and research outputs
Rogoff, Irit. 2021. The Disenchanted: Contending with Practice Based Research. In: Michaela Schäuble and Thomas Gartmann, eds. Studies in the Arts: Neue Perspektiven auf Forschung über, in und durch Kunst und Design. Bielefeld, Germany: transcript Verlag, pp. 45-56. ISBN 9783837657364
Rogoff, Irit. 2020. Scaling Up – Local densities and Global Arts Circulations. In: Marissa J. Moorman and Mónica De Miranda, eds. Q-notes: Questions in Theory and Art Practices #1. Lisbon: Hangar Books. ISBN 9789893310663
Rogoff, Irit. 2018. Becoming Research. In: Choi Jina and Helen Jungyeon Ku, eds. The Curatorial in Parallax. Seoul, Republic of Korea: National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, pp. 39-52. ISBN 9788963031972
Rogoff, Irit. 2017. Who do WE face? In: Maria Hlavajova and Simon Sheikh, eds. FORMER WEST: Art and the Contemporary after 1989. Amsterdam, Netherlands: BAK, basis voor actuele kunst and MIT Press. ISBN 9780262533836
Rogoff, Irit. 2016. Starting in the Middle: NGOs and Emergent Forms For Cultural Institutions. In: Johanna Burton; Shannon Jackson and Dominic Willsdon, eds. Public Servants Art and the Crisis of the Common Good. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262034814
Rogoff, Irit. 2015. Oblique Points of Entry. In: Hamid Keshmirshekan, ed. Contemporary Art from the Middle East: Regional Interactions with Global Art Discourses: Volume 18. I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 9781784530020
Rogoff, Irit. 2009. Geo-cultures. In: Seijdel Jorinde and Gielen Pascal, eds. The Art Biennial as a Global Phenomenon Strategies in Neo-Political Times. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, pp. 120-128. ISBN 978-90-5662-667-9
Rogoff, Irit. 2009. Neither police, nor pirates. In: , ed. Fiona Tan: Rise and Fall. Vancouver, BC, and Aarau, Switzerland: Vancouver Art Gallery and Aargauer Kunsthaus, pp. 142-156. ISBN 978-1-895442-79-3
Rogoff, Irit and Schneider, Florian. 2008. Productive anticipation. In: David Held and Henrietta Moore, eds. Cultural transformations/Cultural politics in a global age: uncertainty, solidarity and globalisation. Oxford: Oneworld Publications, pp. 346-357. ISBN 1851685502
Rogoff, Irit. 2002. 'We - Mutualities, Collectivities, Participations'. In: , ed. I Promise its Political. Cologne: Museum Ludwig.
Rogoff, Irit. 2000. "Body Missing" - Uncanny Histories and Cultural Hauntings'. In: , ed. Kunst Als Beute. Vienna: Sigrid Schade.
Rogoff, Irit. 1997. 'In the Empire of the Object - the Geographies of Ana Mendieta'. In: , ed. Outsiders - Studies in Cultural Marginality. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Rogoff, Irit. 2019. Walking to School Through a Camp: A Short Tale of Infrastructure. The Contemporary Journal,