Dr. Zach Blas

Staff details

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

Zach Blas is an artist, filmmaker, and writer whose practice spans moving image, computation, theory, performance, and science fiction. Zach has exhibited, lectured, and held screenings at venues internationally, including the de Young Museum, Tate Modern, Walker Art Center, 2018 Gwangju Biennale, the 68th Berlin International Film Festival, Matadero Madrid, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Art in General, Gasworks, Van Abbemuseum, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, e-flux, Whitechapel Gallery, ZKM Center for Art and Media, and Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo. Zach is currently co-editing the anthology Informatics of Domination with Melody Jue and Jennifer Rhee and is also writing a collection of essays. His artist monograph Unknown Ideals will be published by Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst and Sternberg Press in 2020.

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

Teaching and Supervision

Research interests

My research-driven artistic practice focuses on emerging technologies—often digital—and their relations to power. From artificial intelligence to biometric facial recognition, I center my research on the social, cultural, and political contexts in which these technologies are imagined, created, and used. I particularly approach my projects from queer and feminist perspectives. My research manifests through a mixture of technical experimentation and moving image artwork paired with theory, performance, and science fiction. As such, my practice is highly transdisciplinary, not only in research topics but with production as well. For most of my art projects, I put together a team of experts across computer science, architecture, and the film industry to collaborate on fabrication and media creation. The resultant artworks typically appear as large-scale, digital video installations that include sculptural objects and structures created through computational processes, like 3D printing. For example, im here to learn so :)))))) (2017) is a video installation and collaboration with Jemima Wyman that resurrects Microsoft AI Tay to consider the gendered politics of pattern recognition and machine learning. Facial Weaponization Suite (2011-14) consists of amorphous masks that demand opacity against facial recognition. I also complement my installation work with lecture-performances and writings that tease out and explore further the discursive aspects of my visual media practice. In my lecture-performance Metric Mysticism (2018), I explore Silicon Valley’s obsession with magic and fantasy by scrying with a chunk of silicon that is used to make computers and electronics. My research is an amalgamation of studies and training in a wide range of areas, including fine art, digital art, graphic design, film production and film studies, media studies, science and technology studies, queer theory and feminist theory, political philosophy, and visual studies.

Publications

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

Article

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.

Performance

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.

Project

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

Other

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.

Further profile content

Grants and awards

2019: Mercator Fellow, Configurations of Film, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany

2018: Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellow, UK

2018: Grant for Media Art of the Foundation of Lower Saxony, Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst, Germany

2017: Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England, UK

2016: Creative Capital award in Emerging Fields, USA

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