(edited by) Edit Molnár, Marcel Schwierin – Zach Blas, Unknown Ideals


Sternberg Press – Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst, ISBN 978-3956795886, German, English, 376 pages, 2022, UK

This edited artist’s monograph is dedicated to Zach Blas, an artist and writer whose work explores technology and politics. Published after the artist’s solo exhibition, The Unknown Ideal, at the Edith Russ-Haus for Media Art, it includes several commissioned essays, writings from the artist himself and an interview with curator Övül Ö. Durmuşoğlu, alongside a detailed inventory of the artworks. Blas has explored various media themes, but his particular quality is to look at the material aspects of digital technologies from a critical perspective. In particular, he has researched the controversial writer and philosopher, Ayn Rand, and her egoistic philosophy of Objectivism, which seems to be very popular in Silicon Valley companies these days. The egoistic, exclusively rational capitalism that Rand proposes influenced the artist’s formative years as a negative but symbolic example of vision, and was something for him to respond to. Blas’ counter-vision uses her theories (the exhibition title comes from a Rand text) as a starting point. He then looks at both queer positions and evolutionary technologies, creating futuristic scenarios that exacerbate Rand’s contradictions and the new dynamics of capitalism. The essays engage with specific artworks and provide an articulate introduction to the artists’ narrative embodied in film, digital media, installation and sculpture.