Zach Blas [US]


Zach Blas will address bias through the uses of mysticism and magic. In his lecture-performance “Metric Mysticism,” he’ll reflect on how Silicon Valley tech companies, such as Palantir Technologies, appropriate magic and mysticism to conceptualize uses of data. Blas suggests that the crystal ball, has come to stand in as a paradigm for how tech entrepreneurs prefer to imagine the algorithmic processing of information. It’s glassy texture creates an impression of transparency and immediacy, serving to conceal the mediation that actually takes place. Yet what if one were to gaze not into a crystal ball but rather a chunk of silicon? Not transparent glass but rather an opaque, geologic material at the very core of digital technology. Blas asks, against the prediction of the future, if redirecting our gaze can offer a way to better comprehend the data anxieties of the present.

Zach Blas is an artist, filmmaker, and writer whose practice spans technical investigation, theoretical research, queer and feminist futurity, conceptualism, and science fiction. His work broadly confronts the political unconscious of science and technology. Currently, 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 68th Berlin International Film Festival; Art in General, New York; Gasworks, London; e-flux, New York; and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. His recent project Contra-Internet is supported by a 2016 Creative Capital award in Emerging Fields and the Arts Council England. His writings can be found in Documentary Across Disciplines, Queer: Documents of Contemporary Art, and e-flux journal. His work has been written about and featured in Artforum, Frieze, ArtReview, Mousse Magazine, The Guardian, and The New York Times.

Zach Blas is presented in collaboration with MU. His exhibition “The Objectivist Drug Party” is on display at MU from May 11 to July 8.

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