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Zach Blas

avatar for Zach Blas

PhD Student
Duke University
Zach Blas is an artist and theorist working at the intersections of networked media, queerness, and the political. His work engages emerging media technologies with a multitude of aesthetic and resistant tactics to challenge neoliberal control structures and generate new potentials for queer politics, affect, and collectivity. He is a PhD student in The Graduate Program in Literature, Information Science + Information Studies, Visual Studies, Women’s Studies, as well as a lab member of s-1: Speculative Sensation Lab, led by Mark B. N. Hansen, at Duke University. He is also a founding members of The Public School Durham, and a contributing editor for the online journal Version. His on-going project, Queer Technologies, is an organization that produces critical applications, tools, and situations for queer technological agency, interventions, and social formation. By re-imaging a technology designed for queer use, Queer Technologies critiques the heteronormative, capitalist, militarized underpinnings of technological architectures, design, and functionality. Queer Technologies includes, transCoder, a queer programming anti-language; ENgenderingGenderChangers, a “solution” to Gender Adapters’ male/female binary; and Gay Bombs, a technical manual manifesto that outlines a “how to” of queer networked activism. QT items are often displayed and deployed at the Disingenuous Bar, an attack on Appleʼs Genius Bar that offers a heterotopic space for political support for “technical” problems. Zach’s on-going practice-based research spans five areas: 1) unhuman modes of resistance that address the human and nonhuman together, 2) a set of political works on abandonment, escape, nonexistence, desertion, and imperceptibility that re-conceptualize resistance, 3) affect, specifically engaging with political love, and affect as weapon and incalculable, 4) the virus and viral as a form of aesthetics, politics, and philosophy, and 5) networked hacktivist practices of hypertrophy, invagination, electronic civil disobedience, and disturbance. Drawing from these areas, Zach is configuring a conception of THE WEAPON as a practiced-based research methodology, pulling from weaponry’s long history of reconceptualization on the Left and various forms of aesthetic resistance. This involves configuring queerness as a militant weapon. Zach holds a Master of Fine Art,  Design | Media Arts, University of California Los Angeles; a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Art and Technologies Studies, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and a Bachelor of Science, Film and Philosophy, Boston University. Zach also conducted a year of PhD research at the University of California Berkeley in the Film & Media track of the Rhetoric Department with a joint appointment in the Center for New Media.


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