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Lea Laura Michelsen: Queer Masks: On Zach Blas’ Art of Disappearing in an Age of Biometric Surveillance

Aesthetic Seminar. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic all Aesthetic Seminars are online and transmitted on Zoom and you must sign up for participation. If circumstances allow, we will locate them at Aarhus University or Kunsthal Aarhus as well. Venues then to be announced.

22.02.2021 | Web Katrinebjerg Kasernen, CC

Dato tor 06 maj
Tid 14:15 16:00
Sted Zoom

Registration Deadline is May 4 (at 13:00). Sign up here.

Digital biometric systems are characterized by operating beyond human perception, sub-perceptively, non-sensibly. This presentation unfolds a contextualized aesthetic analysis of various biometric masks created by Zach Blas—masks that, in different ways, make sensible and critically challenge the non-sensible operations of biometrics through building what we may understand as queer aesthetic communities with heterogeneous participants. Otherwise invisible forms of surveillance and data processing are drawn within the domain of human perception and cognition, whereby critical contemplation and public debate is potentially engendered. The presentation focuses specifically on Blas’ so-called ‘fag face mask’ and his face cages, which are found in the projects Facial Weaponization Suite (2011-14), Face Cages (2013-16), and SANCTUM (2018) respectively. Blas’ work is investigated as aesthetic practice in the sense that extra-artistic dimensions of his mask are considered part of the object of analysis. Blas’ projects typically materialize in regular artworks while at the same time being based on broader aesthetic, collective, and often didactic investigations. His masks are therefore explored not only in their exhibited context of multi-media art installations, but also as they travel into and between other aesthetic forms—performance lectures and performances broadly speaking (including public interventions), artistic essays, research articles, conversations, interviews and the like.

The seminar is public, and we welcome everybody. 

Programme: Aesthetic Seminar spring 2021

Seminar, Arts, Afd. for Digital Design og Informationsvidenskab, Kunsthistorie, Æstetik & Kultur og Museologi, Litteraturhistorie og Retorik, Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology