Zach Blas is an artist, filmmaker, and writer whose practice spans technical investigation, theoretical research, conceptualism, performance, and science fiction. He is a Lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Blas has exhibited, lectured, and held screenings internationally, recently at the 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. His practice has been supported by a Creative Capital award in Emerging Fields, the Arts Council England, and Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst. Blas is a 2018-20 UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellow and a 2019 Mercator Fellow in “Configurations of Film” at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt.
His works have addressed biometric capture, time travel, policing as mysticism, the crystals balls of Silicon Valley, and dildos. SANCTUM (2018) is a sex dungeon-cum-detention center that recasts security and surveillance through BDSM. An immersive film installation, Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 (2018) follows author Ayn Rand on an acid trip, in which she bares witness to a dystopian future of the internet. im here to learn so :)))))) (2017), a four-channel video installation and collaboration with Jemima Wyman, 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 systems.
Blas’s writings can be found in the collections You Are Here: Art After the Internet, Documentary Across Disciplines, Queer: Documents of Contemporary Art, as well as e-flux journal and various exhibition catalogues. He is currently co-editing the anthology Informatics of Domination and writing the book 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 is in the collections of Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, and Whitney Museum of American Art, and his practice been written about and featured in Artforum, Frieze, ArtReview, Art Monthly, Mousse Magazine, The Guardian, and The New York Times.