Ina Blom

Ina Blom is Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo and Wigeland Visiting Professor at the Department of Art History, University of Chicago. Her fields of research are modernism/avant-garde studies and contemporary art with a particular focus on the relationship between art, technology, media, and politics. She is also an art critic, contributing to journals such as Artforum, Afterall, Texte zur Kunst, and Parkett. Blom is the author of, among other titles, On the Style Site: Art, Sociality and Media Culture and The Autobiography of Video: The Life and Times of a Memory Technology (both published by Sternberg Press).

  • Houses To Die In and Other Essays on Art

    Houses To Die In and Other Essays on Art

    Ina Blom

    Art critical essays focusing on artworks that, in various ways, convey a sense of unheroic "trouble."

    The undead of contemporary painting, avant-garde populism, photography courting stupidity, fraught networking, synthetic atmospheres, displaced abstractions, and the mediation of pain: these are among the subjects treated in this collection of essays by art historian and critic Ina Blom. Written over the past twenty years and drawing on Blom's familiarity with the contemporary art scene as well as the archives of twentieth-century avant-garde art, these texts share a pull towards artistic projects that are not redemptive or exemplary but that rather convey a sense of—often unheroic—trouble. Leaning into ambivalence as a methodology of criticism, Blom takes a particular interest in the detours, doubts, and difficulties that run alongside avant-garde art's more constructively hopeful desires for transformative innovation and change.

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  • The Autobiography of Video

    The Autobiography of Video

    The Life and Times of a Memory Technology

    Ina Blom

    In this innovative take on early video art, Ina Blom considers the widespread notion that analog video was endowed with lifelike memory and agency. Reversing standard accounts of artistic uses of video, she follows the reflexive unfolding of a technology that seemed to deploy artists and artistic frameworks in the creation of new technical and social realities. She documents, among other things, video's emergence through the framework of painting, its identification with biological life, its exploration of the outer limits of technical and mental time control, and its construction of new realms of labor and collaboration. Enlisting a distinctly media-archaeological approach, Blom's new book—her second from Sternberg Press—is a brilliant look at the relationship between video memory and social ontology.

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  • On the Style Site

    On the Style Site

    Art, Sociality, and Media Culture

    Ina Blom

    This book takes its cue from a simple observation. During the last 30 years or so, the term style has all but disappeared from art critical or art historical terminology. For new art history it was an increasingly problematic term, associated with the taxonomist and historicist concerns of “old” art history, not to speak of its fixation on the figure of the great artist. For contemporary art criticism the term seemed simply irrelevant: Faced with artistic activities that challenged traditional ideas of the work of art and its relation to aesthetics itself, new critical paradigms had to be invented. As interventions in social reality, an art of actions and events, replaced preoccupations with visual style and shape, the politics of social sites replaced the language of forms.

    But while style has all but disappeared from art historical and art critical discourse, artistic practice since the 1960's onwards has seemed increasingly focused on the stylistics of the life-environment, the way in which everyday life itself is formed, designed or stylized. This development calls for a new reading of the relationship between art and the question of style, one that approaches the question of style itself not just as an art historical “tool” or method of explanation but as a social site in which relations between appearance, recognition and social identity is negotiated. The question or crisis of the contemporary style site is related to the significance of stylistic issues in contemporary politics and economics that capitalizes on life itself and that is perhaps best understood through its particular production of subjectivity. The works discussed in this book treat style as precisely such a site, and should therefore be discussed in extension of what is generally known as “site specific practices” in art. However, the style site works radically change the notion of the politics of this type of art, and may in the end also contribute to open the question of the life-art practices of the avant-garde to new interpretations.

    Ina Blom is an Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo. She has written extensively on modern and contemporary art and is also active as an art critic.

    • Paperback $29.95