Digital Art

Alternate Thursdays, 17:00-19:00pm during term-time.

Seminar room SG2, Alison Richard Building


Digital Art Research Group

Digital technologies have shaped utopian and dystopian visions of global communication, financialisation, and surveillance, and have expanded our forms of perception. These developments have not only captured the imagination of artists, but also motivated them to become agents in the digitized world. Working across video and online platforms, digital artists have critically commented on themes such as privacy, civil liberties, cultural ownership, the economy and individual agency; at the same time, many have themselves become forerunners in the fields of science, technology, and activism. These practices have often had an impact outside the artistic sphere, cutting across disciplinary and institutional boundaries.

The focus of this research group is therefore to investigate the role that digital art can play in helping us to understand, critique, and shape the impact of digital technologies on contemporary society. What, if anything, makes the practices in question recognisably artistic? How are established aesthetic concepts challenged when, for example, the work of financial activists is exhibited at contemporary art biennales, or when human rights tribunals rely on digital image analysis provided by architects and filmmakers? This group’s interest in the relationship between digital art and the spheres of science, technology and aesthetics will allow us to deepen our understanding of these processes via situated case studies, and to do so within an interdisciplinary context. Each term will be organised around two invited talks and two reading sessions.

Michaelmas Term 2017: Digital Art and Financialisation

Throughout this term, we aim to consider digital art’s important and dynamic role in documenting, rethinking, and opposing digital financial technologies. Such practices range from video works shown in a gallery context (Hito Steyerl, Andrew Norman Wilson, Olia Lialina) to grassroots participatory projects (Robin Hood Co-Operative). In interrogating the status of artworks which take global finance as both theme and medium, we also aim to reflect upon the aesthetic and ethical implications of artistic practices embedded in digital technologies.

Lent Term 2018: Digital Art and Surveillance

While the digitalization of surveillance has become pervasive in contemporary societies, it has also given rise to new loopholes, potential failure, and sites of invisibility. This phenomenon will be our focus during Lent Term, during which we will look at how artists have both used surveillance technologies and exposed their potential perils. Our reading sessions will seek to analyse new forms of artistic agency, mediation, and subjectivity fostered by a post-Foucauldian model of government (‘super-panopticon’).


Administrative assistance:



Dr Aline Guillermet  (JRF, King’s College, Visual Culture, History of Art)
Dr Mara Polgovsky  (JRF, Queens’ College, Latin American Studies, MML)
Dr Vid Simoniti  (JRF, Churchill College, Philosophy, History of Art)
Dr Martin Zeilinger  ( Lecturer in Media, Dept. of English & Media, Anglia Ruskin University)

Programme 2017-18

Digital Art
'Art and Money Online' in Retrospect
10 October 2017, Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Julian Stallabrass (Courtauld Institute of Art) - Digital Art

Theorising Digital Art as Financial Technology
24 October 2017, Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Reading session - Digital Art

Digital Art as Critical Medium of Exchange
07 November 2017, Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Reading Session - Digital Art

The Artist Leaving the Googleplex
21 November 2017, Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Andrew Norman Wilson  (Artist) - Digital Art

The Aesthetics of Surveillance
25 January 2018, Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Reading session - Digital Art

Seeing across the Distance: The Dreams and Fears of Televisual Utopias
08 February 2018, Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Manu Luksch (Artist) - Digital Art

CANCELLED: Metric Mysticism
22 February 2018, Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Zach Blas (Artist, Goldsmiths, London) - Digital Art

Crowdsourcing National Security: Gamification Practices in the US-Mexico Border
08 March 2018, Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Joana Moll (Artist) - Digital Art