Dr S. Ayesha Hameed

Staff details

PositionLecturer in Visual Cultures Joint Programme Leader in Fine Art and History of Art Research Fellow, Forensic Architecture
Department Visual Cultures
Email a.hameed (
Phone+44 (0)20 7919 7470
Dr S. Ayesha Hameed

My work explores contemporary borders and migration, critical race theory, Walter Benjamin, and visual cultures of the Black Atlantic. My studio practice includes video and performance. My current Postdoctoral research is in two parts: (1) the preparation of a book manuscript entitled The Law of the Jungle Can't Last; and (2) a practice-based research project entitled Performing the Border.

Academic qualifications

  • MFA Open Media, Concordia University, Canada  (2008-9 withdrew to take up Postdoctoral Fellowship)
  • PhD Social and Political Thought, York University, Canada. (December 2008)
  • Graduate Certificate Digital Technologies in Design Art Practices, Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University, Canada. (2006)
  • The School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University (2003)
  • MA Social and Political Thought, York University, Canada. (2001)
  • BA Honours in Sociology with First Class Honours, University of Alberta, Canada. (1997)



Areas of supervision


  • Ifor Duncan (Co-Supervisor) PhD Department of Visual Cultures (2014- )
  • Richard Hylton (Supervisor) PhD Department of Visual Cultures (2013- )
  • Karen Mirza (Co-Supervisor) PhD Centre for Research Architecture (2009-11)
  • Philippe Zourgane (external examiner) PhD upgrade, Centre for Research Architecture  (2012)

Presentations and exhibitions



  • “Black Atlantis” in Where Theory Belongs at the General Theory Forum ICA London
  • “Labour in a Single Shot” Conference in connection with exhibition Haus der Kulturen der Welt


  • Forensis: the Architecture of Public Truth Symposium Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin
  • “Afrofuturism” guest lecture for Vocalities MA Aural and Visual Cultures convened by Mark Fisher
  • “The Time and Sound of the Nautical Border” “Charting Imperial Itineraries, 1914-2014: Unmooring the Komagata Maru,”, Victoria


  • Radical Media Forum: Aesthetics and the Politics of Moving Images, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • “Streams, Torrents and Waves”  South Asian Visual Arts Centre, London.
  • “Perils of the Sea”  Devil's Advocate Forensic Architecture Roundtable London.


  • “Rituals and Masks at the Border” Sarai Reader 09: The Exhibition New Delhi.
  • “On Laughter and Violence” with Michael Taussig, University of Chicago.
  • “The Law of the Jungle Can't Last” Objects, Practices and Territories European Capital of Culture, Guimarães.
  • “The Image of Gaddafi” Centre for Cultural Decontamination, Belgrade.


  • “Border Crossings” Banff Centre for the Arts.
  • “The Body in the Jungle” Forensic Aesthetics Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste
Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main.


  • “Aesthetics of Evidence,” United Nations Human Rights Commission, Geneva (with the CRA).
  • “On Coastlines, Border Crossings and Natural History,” Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University.
  • “The Jungle as Second Nature,” Regimes of Extraterritoriality, Cairo.


  • “Vectors of the Global Border” Historical Materialism, London.
  • “On Archives” Museum of Non-Participation with Eyal Weizman, Project.
  • “Wait a Minute! 2009” with Richard Fung, Alice Jim and ASM Kobiyashi, Oboro Gallery and Pixel Gallery, Montréal.


  • “What is Missing and What is There: Passages from War to Art” with Kirsty Robertson. Universities Art Association of Canada, Toronto.
  • Artist’s Talk, Rencontre Interuniversitaire, Québec.
  • “Borders in the City” University of the Streets Café, Montréal.
  • Artist’s Talk, Rearranging Desires: Curating the "Other” Within. Concordia University.
  • “Borders in the City” with Anita Schoepp. International Society for Electronic Art, Singapore.


  • “Virtual Diasporas” (Artist’s Talk), Re-presenting Diasporas in Cinema and New (Digital) Media, University of Exeter.
  • Artist’s Talk, Monitor 3 South Asian Visual Arts Centre Toronto.


  • Artist’s talk, Salon Femmes br@nchées #61, Studio XX, Montréal.
  • “The Unspoken Archive: New Media Representations of the Middle Passage”, “REFRESH!” Banff New Media Institute.


  • “Invisible Evidence: History/ Diaspora/ Documentary”  Visible Evidence XII, Concordia University.


  • “Mapping the Self, Mapping the Other: Colonialism and Metropolitan Identity” Print Culture and the City, McGill University. 2003
  • “Dialectics at a Standstill: a Benjaminian reading of Turner, Grandville and Industrial Seascapes” at UAAC, Queen’s University.
  • “Colonial Circuits: The Commodification of the Ocean and the Creation of Modern Space” Canadian Association for Cultural Studies,  Dalhousie University.
  • “Sailing Ships and Distant Shores: Capitalism, Slavery and the Sea” Culture and the State: Past Present and Future, University of Alberta. 2002
  • “Virtual Toronto: Interdisciplinary Knowledge and New Research Tools” (with Janine Marchessault and Keith Flynn), Bridges II, Banff New Media Institute.


  • Social Glitch Kunstraum Niederoesterreich Vienna (2015)
  • Monitor Reruns (Group Exhibition) Images Festival Toronto (2014)
  • Forensis (Group Exhibition) House of World Cultures Berlin (2014)
  • Sarai Reader 09: The Exhibition, New Delhi (2012)
  • “La Commune”, Banff Other Gallery, Banff Centre for the Arts. (2011)
  • “TERRITOIRES/TERRITORIOS: Une sélection d’oeuvres d’artistes espagnoles et canadiennes” Commissaire: Joanna Empain, Montréal. (2011)      
  • “Giv Présente: Lancement des Nouveautés” Maison de la culture du Plateau Mont-Royal, Montréal. (2011)
  • “The New City Reader: A Newspaper of Public Space” (with CRA) Curated by Joseph Grima and Kazys Varnelis/Network Architecture Lab, New Museum, New York. (2011)
  • New Schools Programme for screening in selected high schools and universities in Toronto. SAVAC (Ongoing 2010- )       
  • Eclectik, Montréal, arts interculturels, Montréal. (2009)
  • Rencontre Interuniversitaire, Québec. (2008)
  • Volatile Works short programme at the Cinémathèque québécoise, Montréal. (2007)
  • HTMlles 08: Crowd Control, Montréal. (2007)
  • “Monitor 3” SAVAC’s International Short Film and Video Festival, Toronto. (2007)
  • The Third Annual Volatile Works Series, Montréal. (2006)               
  • “Digital Poetics and Politics”, Queen’s University. (2004)
  • “Strategies of Critique XV: Human Nature,” York University. (2001)
  • Mayworks Festival, Oakville Art Gallery  (2001)
  • “Borderlines” with Yen Chu at 52 Inc. Toronto. (1999)


  • “The Object that Remains” Guest Curator, SAVAC Monitor 7 Program, Toronto. (2011)
  • “Border Movements” with Nahed Mansour, Leila Pourtavaf and Tatiana Gomez.  La Centrale Powerhouse, Montréal. (2008)



  • “La Commune. The Asylum. Die Bühne.” The Banff Centre for the Arts Faculty: Althea Thauberger, Michael Taussig. (2011)
  • “Reference Check” The Banff Centre for the Arts Faculty: Andreas Broeckmann, Sarat Maharaj, Anne Galloway. (2007)
  • Studio XX Artist in Residence, Montréal, Quebec. (2005)
  • “Digital Poetics and Politics” Summer Institute, Queen’s University. (2004)
  • “Intra-Nation” Thematic Residency, The Banff Centre for the Arts. (2004)

Television and video output


  • a rough history (of the destruction of fingerprints)  (2014)
  • Dorothy (video 11:29, 2011)
  • Fire at Villawood, Fire at Schiphol (video 12:31, 2011)
  • Vilayet Unheimlich (video 16:13, 2009)
  • a garden folly (super 8 6:57, 2009)
  • C'mon In! (video 6:55, 2008)
  • fire, fences and flight (video 6:13, 2007)
  • |border| (performance video 2:36, 2007)
  • disorientation = loss of the east (video 5:44, 2007)
  • outer space (video 9:25, 2006)
  • a shipwreck, a log (video 7:15, 2006)


  • mask and ritual  (Theatre of the Oppressed Workshop, 2011-)
  • borders in the city with Anita Schoepp (performance, 2009)
  • Indian/Indian (photographic series, 2009)
  • rewrite (interactive sound installation, 2007)
  • sea/myth/build (interactive animation 2004)

Research Interests

Ayesha Hameed's practice includes performance, video and writing, and examines contemporary borders and migration, critical race theory, Walter Benjamin, and visual cultures of the Black Atlantic.

She is currently completing a book entitled Black Atlantis which rereads the jettison of slaves overboard the slave ship Zong in 1781 through a speculation made by the Detroit electronic band Drexciya that slaves thrown overboard adapted to life underwater to form an eponymous underwater Atlantis. 

Hameed recently completed a project entitled Performing the Border. Its first phase was a series of performances designed with migrant justice groups to make visible and audible the secret violence faced by an asylum seeker living in church sanctuary.  The second phase was a series of theatre of the oppressed workshops held in the Banff Centre for the Arts and Sarai in Delhi that explored how the border is performed and embodied by the border guard and migrant.   Her recent publications include contributions to FORENSIS: The Architecture of Public Truth (2014), The Sarai Reader (2013), Savage Objects: Inhuman Political Alliances (2012), TateETC (2010) and Photoworks (2011). Recent exhibitions include Forensis at the House of World Cultures in Berlin and Monitor Reruns at the Images Festival in Toronto.


Edited Book

Futures and Fictions
Gunkel, Henriette; Hameed, Ayesha and O'Sullivan, Simon D., eds. 2017. Futures and Fictions. London: Repeater. ISBN 9781910924631

Visual Cultures as Time Travel
Hameed, Ayesha and Gunkel, Henriette, eds. 2016. Visual Cultures as Time Travel. UNSPECIFIED.

Book Section

Conversation with Louis Moreno and Ayesha Hamed
Eshun, Kodwo. 2017. Conversation with Louis Moreno and Ayesha Hamed. In: Henriette Gunkel; Ayesha Hameed and Simon D. O'Sullivan, eds. Futures and Fictions. London: Repeater. ISBN 9781910924631

The Time and Sound of the Nautical Border
Hameed, Ayesha. 2016. The Time and Sound of the Nautical Border. In: , ed. Charting Imperial Territories. University of British Columbia Press.

Black Atlantis
Hameed, Ayesha. 2014. Black Atlantis. In: Forensic Architecture, ed. Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth. Sternberg Press. ISBN 978-3-95679-011-9

What Does the Moving Image Desire?
Hameed, Ayesha. 2013. What Does the Moving Image Desire? In: , ed. Sarai Reader 09: Projections. Delhi: Sarai Media Lab, pp. 323-330.

The Petrification of the Image
Hameed, Ayesha. 2012. The Petrification of the Image. In: Godofredo Nobre Enes Pereira, ed. Savage Objects: Inhuman Political Alliances. Porto: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda.

Borders in the City
Hameed, Ayesha. 2011. Borders in the City. In: J. Keri Cronin and Kirsty Robertson, eds. Imagining Resistance: Visual Culture and Activism in Canada. Wilfrid Laurier Press. ISBN 978-1-55458-257-0

Virtual and Material Topographies
Hameed, Ayesha. 2008. Virtual and Material Topographies. In: Danny Butt; Jon Bywater and Paul Nova, eds. Place: Local Knowledge and New Media Practice. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1-8471-8484-9

Sailing Ships and Distant Shores: Capitalism, Slavery and the Sea
Hameed, Ayesha. 2004. Sailing Ships and Distant Shores: Capitalism, Slavery and the Sea. In: James Gifford and Gabrielle Zezoulka-Mailloux, eds. in Culture and the State: Landscape and Ecology (Volume 1). CRC Humanities Studio.


Hameed, Ayesha. 2012. Trace. Reviews in Cultural Theory, 2(3), ISSN 1918-9710

Yaron Lapid: The New Zero
Hameed, Ayesha. 2011. Yaron Lapid: The New Zero. Photoworks, 16,

Rights of Passage”
Godfrey, Mark; Demos, T.J.; Weizman, Eyal and Hameed, Ayesha. 2010. Rights of Passage”. Tate Etc, 19,

Universal Catastrophe - Roundtable On Terrorism
Hameed, Ayesha; Weizman, Eyal; Pereira, Godofredo Nobre Enes; Tavares, Paulo; Di Carlo, Tina and Khalili, Yazan. 2010. Universal Catastrophe - Roundtable On Terrorism. Revista Detritos, 4,

Embodying the Middle Passage
Hameed, Ayesha. 2007. Embodying the Middle Passage. Topia, 18, ISSN 1206-0143

Animating Exclusions: Ali Kazimi’s Continuous Journey and the Virtualities of Racialized Exclusion
Hameed, Ayesha. 2007. Animating Exclusions: Ali Kazimi’s Continuous Journey and the Virtualities of Racialized Exclusion. Topia, 17, ISSN 1206-0143

Love and Borders
Hameed, Ayesha and Le, Viet Ho. 2007. Love and Borders. West Coast LINE 49, 40(1),

Notes on the Politics and Potentials of New Media Engagement
Hameed, Ayesha and Vukov, Tamara. 2005. Notes on the Politics and Potentials of New Media Engagement. Public: art, culture and ideas, 31,

Nostalgic Landscapes – Andrew Hunter’s Giddy-Up! or a Darn Good Hat Act
Hameed, Ayesha. 2004. Nostalgic Landscapes – Andrew Hunter’s Giddy-Up! or a Darn Good Hat Act. FUSE, 27(4),


Border Controls/Border Movements
Hameed, Ayesha and Pourtavaf, Leila. 2007. Border Controls/Border Movements.

Exhibition Catalogue

The Object that Remains
Hameed, Ayesha. 2011. The Object that Remains.

Hameed, Ayesha. 2005. Unless.