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 2018 Gwangju Biennale; the 68th Berlin International Film Festival; 6th Guangzhou Triennial; Abierto x Obras, Matadero Madrid; 2018 Creative Time Summit; MAXXI, Rome; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Art in General, New York; Gasworks, London; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore; e-flux, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe; and Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City. 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 Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellow.
Recent 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 reimagines 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 You Are Here: Art After the Internet (Cornerhouse Books); Documentary Across Disciplines (The MIT Press and Haus der Kulturen der Welt); Queer: Documents of Contemporary Art (The MIT Press and Whitechapel Gallery); e-flux journal; and various exhibition catalogues. He is currently 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 has been written about and featured in Artforum, Frieze, ArtReview, Art Monthly, Mousse Magazine, The Guardian, and The New York Times.