Master CCC : Public Thought with Zach Blas

Tuesday 9 April 2019

HEAD – Genève
Boulevard Helvétique 9, seminar room CCC 27, 2nd floor
1205 Genève 

Zach Blas : Body Horror
Body Horror reimagines the setting of airport security through the genre of body horror cinema, with body scans and biometric meshes as key protagonists. These digital bodies—extracted from embodied persons—are inspected, prodded, and probed for the sake of risk preemption, but how do such acts come to provoke or terrify, when—no matter how violently handled—the digital renderings of securitized people appear to be free of the horrors of bodily violation? ​​​​​​

Zach Blas is an artist, filmmaker, writer, and lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has exhibited, lectured, and held screenings internationally, recently at the 2018 Gwangju Biennale; Abierto X Obras, Matadero Madrid; 2018 Creative Time Summit, Miami; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; 68th Berlin International Film Festival; Art in General, New York; Gasworks, London; and e-flux, New York. He is a recipient of a 2016 Creative Capital award in Emerging Fieldsand a 2018-20 Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Fellow. 

CCC Public Thought operates as an umbrella for public seminars, transversal movements, discussions and mobile displays of the CCC Research-based Master of the Visual Arts Department at HEAD – Genève. Under this umbrella, the 2018-19 Public Seminar engages in a set of approaches by artists, theorists and editors to diagnose or relate to the ‘datalogical turn’ (Patricia T. Clough): the question whether the affirmative powers of ‘data-behaviorism’ (Antoinette Rouvroy) influence our social lives, manipulate political tendencies, create new paradigms of domination and confront the human with its own impotence is insufficient. Because, we (humans) are in the middle of the muddle. We are the subject of research that we cannot control. Our bodies are fields of extraction, our brains produce food for data, and our thoughts are overwhelmed by the speed of trolls. It feels as if we – humans – are gasping the last breaths to catch up with the speed of hate producing hate and competing with the amazingly looking glitch of a YouTube-video-download. How do we cope with the fact that data does not need the human while operating humans’ lives on multiple scales? How can research practices disentangle, disarm and unfold a computational ontology of cognition and science in relation to art-making, ignorant knowledge, and long-term thoughts? Committed to contemporary research practices by the means of art under conditions of planetary transformations, the CCC Public Thought invites everyone to join a public moment of ongoing debates at the CCC Research-based Master.


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Master CCC : Public Thought
© Zach Blas, SANCTUM, Matadero Madrid (2018)