Katedra fotografie FAMU

OE16: Zach Blas – Contra-Internet

Wed. November 9th, 7PM
FAMU, Smetanovo náb. 2
Room U1, 1. floor.

It seems to be easier for us today to imagine the thorough going deterioration of the earth and of nature than the breakdown of late internet; perhaps that is due to some weakness in our imaginations. Spanning video, sculpture, performance and text, Contra-Internet is a large-scale installation that engages the emerging militancies and subversions of the Internet, such as the global proliferation of encryption tactics, autonomous mesh networks, and darknets. The project aims to critique the Internet as both a hegemonic descriptor for digital networking and premier arena of political control. It also documents and speculates upon network alternatives that activists are developing globally. Inspired by Paul B. Preciado’s Manifesto contrasexual, Contra-Internet is oriented from a feminist and queer perspective, in an effort to unite such political positions with a hacker ethos. Contra-Internet functions as an expansive conceptual, practical, and experimental framework for refusing the control logic of the Internet while building alternatives to its infrastructure.

Zach Blas is an artist and writer whose practice engages technics and minoritarian politics. Currently, he is a Lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. Blas has exhibited and lectured internationally, recently at Whitechapel Gallery, London; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; e-flux, New York; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; New Museum, New York; Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; and transmediale, Berlin. Residencies include Eyebeam in New York, The Moving Museum Istanbul, The Banff Centre, and the Delfina Foundation in London. 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 is producing two books, Escaping the Face, an artist monograph to be published by 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. Blas has published writings in Documentary Across Disciplines (The MIT Press and Haus der Kulturen der Welt); Queer: Documents of Contemporary Art (The MIT Press and Whitechapel Gallery); Little Joe; Journal of Aesthetics and Protest; You are Here: Art after the Internet (Cornerhouse Books); DIS Magazine; Women Studies Quarterly (The Feminist Press); and co-edited micha cárdenas’ The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities (Atropos Press). His work has been written about and featured in Artforum, Art Review, Frieze, Art Papers, Hyperallergic, Mousse Magazine, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera America, and Wired. Blas holds a PhD from the Program in Literature at Duke University and a MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles.


OpenEye16 is a series of guest lectures by theorists, artists and lecturers addressing the themes of contemporary arts and new technologies. The lectures are open to students of FAMU and other art academies, universities and the general public. They are held in English or simultaneously translated.

FAMU, Smetanovo náb. 2, Prague 1
Room U1, 1st floor (unless mentioned otherwise).
OpenEye series is organized by FAMU — Dpt. of Photography in cooperation with Center for audiovisual studies.

Posted on: 16. 11. 2016, Export Data