Zach Blas: An Interview

Video Data Bank

2019 | 01:18:12 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Interviews, On Art and Artists, Single Titles

Tags: Body, Conceptual Art, Culture Jamming, Film Theory, Gender, LGBTQ, Magic, Myth, Surveillance, Technology, VDB Interviews

Zach Blas is an artist, writer, and filmmaker whose practice spans technical investigation, research, conceptualism, performance, and science fiction. Currently a Lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, Blas has exhibited internationally, including at the Walker Art Center, Gwangju Biennale, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Whitechapel Gallery. His work has addressed fantasies of artificial intelligence, biometric capture, time travel, policing as mysticism, the crystal balls of Silicon Valley, and dildos.

In this interview, Blas begins by talking through the range of influences that he was drawn to during his youth. These include the Appalachian craft culture from his West Virginian childhood, the films of Bruce LaBruce, Derek Jarman, and Gregg Araki, and exposure to computing technologies during his education. Ultimately, Blas is interested in working through queer histories of technology. He discusses his Contra-Internet project at length, which is in many ways a continuation of the cyberfeminist project, and a desire to produce an expanded definition of the internet. With reference to the utopian theories of José Esteban Muñoz and Ricardo Dominguez, Blas asks the questions: How can we read something a different way? And how can we push against the idea of the internet as a totality with no outside? These questions as to the potential of art and technology, and their intersection with queerness, are at the core of Blas’s practice.

Interview conducted by Lee Blalock in October 2019

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