Images and artworks exist not simply as objects to be admired or interpreted, but as part of a vast visual infrastructure that governs our lives, shaping what we see, who we are, and what we can do. This infrastructure is what Meg McLagan and Yates McKee call the “image complex”.

This series introduces new scholarship on the way visuality shapes the history and politics of identity, technology and imperialism.

Series convened by Nick Croggon, Events and Programs Officer at the Power Institute



Refuge in the Unseen: On Queer Raves

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

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Sectional Thinking Circa 1850

Thursday, 28 April 2022

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The New Metaverse and Women of Color

Thursday, 4 August 2022






Thursday, 20 October 2022




McKenzie Wark is the author, among other things, of A Hacker Manifesto (Havard 2004), Gamer Theory (Harvard 2007), The Beach Beneath the Street (Verso 2011) and Capital is Dead (Verso 2019). Her most recent book is Philosophy for Spiders: on the low theory of Kathy Acker (Duke 2020). She is professor of media and culture at Eugene Lang College, The New School in New York City.

Zeynep Çelik Alexander’s work focuses on the history and theory of architecture since the Enlightenment. After being trained as an architect at Istanbul Technical University and Harvard Graduate School of Design, she received her Ph.D. from the History, Theory, and Criticism Program at M.I.T. Alexander is the author of Kinaesthetic Knowing: Aesthetics, Epistemology, Modern Design (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2017), a history of an alternative mode of knowing—non-propositional, non-linguistic, and based on the movements of the body—that gained saliency in the nineteenth century and informed the epistemological logic of modernism in the German-speaking world. She has published in numerous venues, including Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, New German Critique, Harvard Design MagazineLoge-fluxGrey Room, Journal of Design History, and Centropa. A second volume, co-edited with John J. May (Harvard University) and forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press, examines the histories of a series of techniques that have come to dominate contemporary design disciplines. Çelik Alexander is currently at work on new book that explores nineteenth-century architectures of bureaucracy from the Kew Herbarium to the Larkin Administration Building. Alexander is a member of the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative and an editor of the journal Grey Room.

Lisa Nakamura is the Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor of American Culture at the University of Michigan and a Primary Investigator for the DISCO (Digital Inquiry, Speculation, Collaboration, and Optimism) Network,, a collective of critical researchers working on race, gender, disability, and digital technologies. She is the author of several books on race, gender, and the Internet, most recently Racist Zoombombing (Routledge, 2021, co-authored with Hanah Stiverson and Kyle Lindsey) and Technoprecarious (Goldsmiths/MIT, 2020, as Precarity Lab.

Tina Campt is Owen F. Walker Professor of Humanities and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, and is currently Visiting Professor in the Department of Art and Archeology at Princeton University. A black feminist theorist of visual culture and contemporary art and a founding researcher in Black European Studies, Campt heads the Black Visualities Initiative at the Cogut Institute for Humanities at Brown and is the convener of the Practicing Refusal Collective and the Sojourner Project. Campt is author/editor of five books: Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender and Memory in the Third Reich (2004), Image Matters: Archive, Photography, and the African Diaspora in Europe (2012), Listening to Images (2017), Imagining Everyday Life: Engagements with Vernacular Photography (with Hirsch, Hochberg and Willis, 2020) and most recently, A Black Gaze (2021).

Nick Croggon (Series Convenor) is an art historian, writer and editor. He was the founder with Helen Hughes of Discipline journal, and is one of the Sydney editors of Memo Review. He is Events and Programs Officer at the Power Institute, University of Sydney, and is completing his PhD in art history at Columbia University in New York.


About the 2022 Series

Today, as we fret about the forces that underpin our screen-based lives, we are reminded once again that vision is not a timeless faculty, but a deeply historical and political construction.  Images and artworks exist not simply as objects to be admired or interpreted, but as part of a vast visual infrastructure that governs our lives, shaping what we see, who we are, and what we can do.  This infrastructure is what Meg McLagan and Yates McKee call the “image complex”.

This online lecture series introduces four leading scholars whose work cracks open the history of the image complex, and its imbrication with processes of capitalism, imperialism, racialisation, and militarism. Their research also illuminates the practices and visual regimes that have long resisted these processes.


Photo by McKenzie Wark, “New York queer rave ambience”. / H. T. De la Beche, Sections and Views, Illustrative of Geological Phaenomena (London: Treuttel & Würtz, 1830) / Screenshots from a video created by Mursion adn partner ECU, Christine WIlson via YouTube.