Dr. Zach Blas

Staff details

Position Lecturer in Visual Cultures
Department Visual Cultures
Email z.blas (@gold.ac.uk)
Dr. Zach Blas

Dr. Zach Blas is an artist and writer whose practice engages technology, queerness, and politics. Blas’s recent works respond to technological control, biometric governmentality, and network hegemony. Facial Weaponization Suite (2011-14) consists of “collective masks” that cannot be detected as human faces by biometric facial recognition software. Contra-Internet (2014-present) explores subversions of and alternatives to the internet and is supported by a 2016 Creative Capital award in Emerging Fields.

Blas has exhibited and lectured internationally, most recently at ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; New Museum, New York; Dak’Art, Dakar; and transmediale, Berlin. Recent residencies include Eyebeam in New York, The Moving Museum Istanbul, and the Delfina Foundation in London.

Currently, Blas is producing two books, Escaping the Face, an artist monograph to be published by Rhizome and Sternberg Press, and Informatic Opacity: The Art of Defacement in Biometric Times, a theoretical study that considers biometric facial recognition as an emerging form of global governance alongside aesthetico-political refusals of recognition, such as masked protest. His work has been written about and featured in Artforum, Frieze, Art Review, Art Papers, Hyperallergic, Mousse Magazine, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera America, and Wired.

Academic qualifications 

  • Ph.D., Program in Literature, Duke University (2014)
  • M.F.A., Design Media Arts, University of California, Los Angeles (2008)
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio, Art and Technology Studies, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2006)
  • B.S., Film, Boston University (2004)


From 2014-15, Blas was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at the University at Buffalo in New York, where he served as faculty on the M.F.A. program in Studio Art and the Ph.D. program in Visual Studies. Since joining Goldsmiths in 2015, Blas teaches four undergraduate modules: “Feminist and Queer Technoscience,” “The Aesthetics and Politics of the Face,” “The Arts of Surveillance,” and “After the Internet.” In 2010, Blas co-founded the Durham, North Carolina branch of The Public School, an experimental, artist-run educational center that is free and open to the public. 

Areas of supervision

Blas mentors artists and scholars in the areas of art and technology, media theory, science and technology studies, queer and feminist theory, contemporary art and activism, surveillance studies, and political philosophy.

Featured work

  • Electronic Superhighway, curated by Omar Kholeif, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (group exhibition, 2016)
  • Imaginary Accord, curated by Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia (group exhibition, 2015)
  • Theory of Colour, curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina, Helena Chávez, and Alejandra Labastida, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico (group exhibition, 2014-15)
  • “Vacuoles of Noncommunication: From Invisible Adversary to Invisible Revolt,” Invisible Adversaries, eds. Lauren Cornell and Tom Eccles (Annandale-on-Hudson: Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, 2016) (exhibition catalogue essay)
  • “‘A Cage of Information,’ or, What is a Biometric Diagram,” Documentary Across Disciplines, eds. Erika Balsom and Hila Peleg (Cambridge: The MIT Press and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 2016) (essay in edited volume)
  • “Biometrics and Opacity,” Biocode: Performing Transgression After New Media, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (keynote lecture, 2015)
  • “Contra-Internet,” The Internet Does Not Exist, e-flux, New York, NY (lecture performance, 2015)

Awards, grants and media appearances

  • 2016 Creative Capital award in Emerging Fields
  • 2014 Techné Institute Faculty Fellowship, University at Buffalo 
  • 2013 Artist Grant, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), University of California, San Diego


Edited Book

Blas, Zach and Schirmacher, Wolfgang, eds. 2011. The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities. New York: Atropos Press. ISBN 9780983915249

Edited Journal

Blas, Zach, ed. 2016. In Practice: Opacities. Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, 31((2 92)). 0270-5346

Book Section

Blas, Zach. 2018. Informatic Opacity. In: Rosi Braidotti and Maria Hlavajova, eds. Posthuman Glossary. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781350030244

Blas, Zach. 2016. “Vacuoles of Noncommunication: From Invisible Adversary to Invisible Revolt". In: Lauren Cornell and Tom Eccles, eds. Invisible Adversaries. Annandale-on-Hudson: Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. ISBN 1936192500

Blas, Zach. 2016. “‘A Cage of Information,’ or, What is a Biometric Diagram?”. In: Erika Balsom and Hila Peleg, eds. Documentary Across Disciplines. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press & Haus der Kulturen der Welt. ISBN 9780262529068

Blas, Zach. 2016. "Gay Bombs: Getting Started". In: David Getsy, ed. Queer: Documents of Contemporary Art. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press & Whitechapel Gallery, pp. 105-109. ISBN 9780262528672

Blas, Zach. 2014. “Contra-Internet Aesthetics”. In: Omar Kholeif, ed. You Are Here: Art after the Internet. Manchester: Cornerhouse Books. ISBN 9780956957177

Blas, Zach. 2012. “Queerness, Openness”. In: Ed Keller; Nicola Masciandaro and Eugene Thacker, eds. Leper Creativity: Cyclonopedia Symposium. Brooklyn: Punctum Books. ISBN 9780615600468


Blas, Zach. 2018. The Jubilee of 2033. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 24(4), ISSN 1064-2684

Blas, Zach and Gaboury, Jacob. 2016. "Biometrics and Opacity: A Conversation". Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, 31(2 92), pp. 155-165. ISSN 0270-5346

Blas, Zach. 2016. Opacities: An Introduction. Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, 31(2 92), pp. 149-153. ISSN 0270-5346

Blas, Zach. 2016. Contra-Internet. e-flux journal, 74, ISSN 2164-1625

Blas, Zach. 2014. "Informatic Opacity". Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, 9,

Blas, Zach. 2013. “Escaping the Face: Biometric Facial Recognition and the Facial Weaponization Suite”. Media-N, Journal of the New Media Caucus, 9(2), ISSN 2159-6891

Blas, Zach. 2012. “Virus, Viral”. WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, 40(1 & 2), pp. 29-39.

Art Object

Blas, Zach. 2019. Icosahedron.

Blas, Zach. 2018. SANCTUM.

Blas, Zach. 2018. Contra-Internet.

Blas, Zach and Wyman, Jemima. 2017. im here to learn so :)))))).

Blas, Zach. 2013. Face Cages.

Blas, Zach. 2011. Facial Weaponization Suite.

Blas, Zach. 2007. Queer Technologies.

Exhibition Catalogue

Blas, Zach and O'Leary, Christopher. 2011. SPECULATIVE.


Blas, Zach. 2018. Body Horror. In: "Tentacular", Matadero Madrid, Spain.

Blas, Zach. 2018. Is the internet a urinal?. In: "Is the internet a urinal?", MU, United Kingdom.

Blas, Zach. 2017. Metric Mysticism. In: "Metric Mysticism", e-flux, United Kingdom.


Blas, Zach. 12 May 2015 - 2018 Contra-Internet.


Blas, Zach; Kholeif, Omar; Bridle, James and Dullaart, Constant. 2015. “Has the Internet Become a Human or a Thing, or Have We Become the Internet?”. Mousse Magazine, Number 47.

Blas, Zach and Cassils, Heather. 2015. “Queer Darkness”. Little Joe, No. 5.

Blas, Zach and Satterwhite, Jacolby. 2014. “Adjust Opacity”. DIS Magazine.

Blas, Zach. 2012. “Five Videos: Zach Blas / Queer Technologies’ Escape”. Rhizome.

Blas, Zach. 2012. "On Electronic Civil Disobedience: Interview with Ricardo Dominguez". Reclamations Journal, Issue 6.

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