Vendela Grundell Photographic Thoughts

Vendela Grundell


I am a postdoctoral researcher with a PhD in Art History at the Depart­ment of Culture and Aesthetics at Stockholm University (2016). I am a Visiting Fellow at the Depart­­ment of Media and Communication at Goldsmiths University of London with my postdoctoral project “See­ing Differently / Seeing Difference: Emancipation and Aesthetics in Photo­graphy by the Visually Im­paired,” based at SU with funding from the Anna Ahlström and Ellen Terserus Foundation (2018-2019). I have been teaching since 2012 on topics of modern and contemporary art, with a special focus on visual technologies and digital cultures. Publications include the extended and revised version of my thesis Flow and Friction: On the Tactical Potential of Interfacing with Glitch Art (Art & Theory Publishing 2016), the article “Navigating Darkness: A Photographic Response to Visual Impairment” in Liminalities (2018), as well as anthology chapters in Art and Photography in Media Environ­­ments (Lusó­fona University 2017) and Error, Creativity, Ambiguity: A Multi­disciplinary Reader (forth­­­coming 2018). I am based in Stockholm, where I work as a researcher, photo­grapher, artist and writer since 2000.

Postdoctoral project 2018-2019 (Funded by Anna Ahlström & Ellen Terserus Foundation)
Visiting Fellow, Department of Media & Communications, Goldsmiths University of London

Seeing Differently / Seeing Difference: Emancipation and Aesthetics in Photography by the Visually Impaired
This project aims to analyze emancipatory and aesthetical aspects of images created by visually impaired photographers between 2000 and 2016. In this period, these images move from a socio­logical focus on therapeutic pedagogies to an aesthetical focus on public displays of art. I home in on the effects of this move on practitioners, producers and viewers in order to investigate how individuals engage with the tension of redefining images that sits uneasily in between therapy and art. This tension arises for instance when the images are conceptualized as aesthetic objects yet are described with tropes like “blind”. In an international cross-disciplinary collaboration, the project high­lights important under-researched practices whose manifestations and meanings take place where the private and the public clash.

The project develops key areas of my previous and current research: photography, spectator­ship, and a dynamics between dependence on and disruption of visual technologies. Building on the conclusions of my doctoral thesis, I argue that both technical and bodily systems – like sight – can be glitched and that such disruption can expose the socio-cultural coding of human physicality in modes that are standardized as well as deviating. This notion is supported by recent theorizations in media studies that address the glitch as a sensory and bodily experience with political implication. By integrating these perspectives into art history’s framework of situated close observation, my analyses add to the production of knowledge on this topical subject. My position as photographer and art historian ensures a valuable contribution to close contextualizing image analyses that are much needed to under­stand this rich material.

Article: “Navigating Darkness: A Photographic Response to Visual Impairment” in Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies Vol. 14 No. 3 2018

Doctoral Thesis 2012-2016 (Art & Theory Publishing 2016)
Flow and Friction: On the Tactical Potential of Interfacing with Glitch Art
The revised and expanded edition of my thesis is available in bookstores such as Hedengrens and Mindepartementet in Stockholm, and at the Gothenburg Art Museum, as well as online at Art & Theory, Adlibris, Bokus, Ginza, and others – or contact me directly!
The original thesis is available through DiVA

The growing flow of digital culture depends on the hidden protocols of its underlying systems. To explore how interfacing shapes spectatorship online, this pioneering study pinpoints experiences of flow through the friction of photo-based glitch art by Phillip Stearns, Rosa Menkman, and Evan Meaney. Homing in on the viewer, these three cross-disciplinary case studies present and analyze material that is new to the art-historical context. In particular, they focus on how glitched artworks in online environments make viewers aware of their own activity within the flow, causing a break from the increasingly naturalized integration of system and individual. When a glitch invites the viewer to try out different positions in relation to the system, a tactical spectatorship unfolds.

Keywords: Glitch, Contemporary Art, Photography, Digital Media, Interface, Internet, Systems Aesthetics, Network Society, Tactics, Phenomenology, Spectatorship, Viewer, Experience, Rosa Menkman, Phillip Stearns, Evan Meaney.

Review: “Follow the Glitch. Vendela Grundell’s book Flow and Friction shows how glitch art, shaky and unstable, can recalibrate our ways of seeing” by Kevin J. Hunt in Eye Magazine April 6 2018

Academic abstract

Contact: info (at) vendelagrundell (dot) com

University Profile

View Vendela Grundell's profile on LinkedIn


In Progress
Conference paper for Art of the Invisible, Courtauld Institute, London.
Conference paper for Nordik XIII, Copenhagen University
Conference paper for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University, Lüneburg

“Facing Technological Ambiguity: Glitched Portraits in Evan Meaney’s Video Suite To Hold a Future Body so Close to One’s Own.” Chapter in Error, Ambiguity, Creativity: A Multidisciplinary Reader, Sarah Whatley and Sita Popat (eds.).

“Rethinking while Redoing: Tactical Affordances of Assistive Technologies in Photography by the Visually Impaired.” Article in Media Theory.

A selection of academic and artistic activities:

Academic Publications
Flow and Friction: On the Tactical Potential of Interfacing with Glitch Art, revised and extended edition of the doctoral thesis, Art & Theory, Stockholm 2016
ISBN 978-91-8803-137-2.

“Friction as Tactical Experience: Interfacing Photographic Instances through Rosa Menkman’s Sunshine in My Throat” in Art and Photography in Media Environments,
conference proceedings, José Gomes Pinto (ed.), Lusófona University, Lisbon, 2016.

“Navigating Darkness: A Photographic Response to Visual Impairment” in LIminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, Vol. 14 No. 3 2018

Other Publications
“Trött hud: Om bortvänd blick and pirrande fingertoppar”
[Tired Skin: On a down-turned gaze and tingling fingertips]
in Verk, no.2 2018, ISSN 2002-2735.

“Att se annorlunda: Skadade ögon bryter fotografiets vaneseende”
[Seeing Differently: Impaired Eyes Break the Habitual Seeing of Photography]
in Verk, no. 4 2016, ISSN 2002-2735. Selected for an anthology of writings from Verk.

“En stilla retad nerv” / ”A Nerve Slightly Bothered”, in Me – every body volume I,
Olof Persson Projects, Gothenburg 2015, ISBN 978-91-982056-0-2

Pedagogical Materials
Doctoral thesis used as literature for reading course in Art History, Södertörn University

Writer and producer of a pedagogy guide to the exhibition Time and Place: Rio de Janeiro 1956-1964 at Moderna Museet in Stockholm 2008.

Self-published photography book Periscope 2009

One dozen articles in magazines and newspapers, predominately art- and culture- related

Conference Papers
2018 Human-Technology Relations: Postphenomenology and Philosophy of Technology, University of Twente, Enschede
2017 Digital Existence II: Precarious Media Life, Sigtuna Foundation, Sigtuna
2016 Photomedia, Aalto University, Helsinki; Poetics of the Algorithm, Liège University
2015 Nordik XI, University of Iceland, Reykjavik
2014 Art Photography in Media Environments, Lusófona University, Lisbon

Research Presentations
2018 Linneaus University, Växjö
2017 Stockholm University Research Days
2016 Danish Institute of Study (DIS), Copenhagen

The Modern Museum, Stockholm, 2016-10-25
”Glitchar och glitch-konst. Museet som gränssnitt: Flöde, nätverk och störande konst”
[Glitches and Glitch Art. The Museum as Interface: Flow, Network and Disruptive Art].
Public lecture and seminar for participants in the art pedagogical project Youyouers about contemporary art and online cultures. Available via the museum’s Youtube channel:

Workshop Participation
“Performativity and Artistic Practice,” Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University. Paper: “Performing Photography – With and Without Sight”

“Data-driven Research in the Humanities”, Royal Institute of Technology. Research presentation on a panel on digitally based research in the humanities.

“Acting Images: Understanding the Agency and Materiality of Imagery and Visual Culture,” Departments of Culture and Aesthetics, and Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University. Paper “Material Agency and Sensory Challenge: Exploring Photography Through Visual Impairment.”

“Digital humanvetenskap: Litterär och visuell kultur i digitala miljöer”
[Digital Human Sciences: Literary and Visual Culture in Digital Environments], Stockholm University. Research presentation.

Lecturer in Art History, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University,
20-50% (temporary since 2012). Art History I; Art History II; Image, History, Interpretation. Teaching and supervising basic/advanced level theses

Lecturer in Art History, European Humanities, Danish Institute of Study Abroad (DIS), Stockholm and Copenhagen, 25-40%. Nordic Contemporary Art; Impressionism in Paris. Course development/management and teaching

2012-2017 Guest lectures at Södertörn University, Gothenburg University/Valand Academy, Stockholm University, Fotoskolan Stockholm, Danish Institute of Study

2017 Erasmus+ teacher mobility grant, for guest teaching at Universiteit van Amsterdam in May, and at Universiteit van Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit in December.

2016 Faculty colloquium, Danish Institute of Study Abroad (DIS). Participation in lectures, seminars, and workshops on pedagogy.

2013/2017 University Pedagogy I (3 ECTS) and II (7,5 ECTS), Stockholm University

Solo/Group Exhibitions & Performances                    
2007-2008 Untitled at Hedengrens bookstore, Dansportalen and Turteatern
2003 Marks at Galleri Zenit; Bounce at Dansens Hus; Visit at Lidingö City Gallery, the work Skuggan presented in photography journal Fotografisk Tidskrift 3/03
2001 Cityflux at the Italian Institute of Culture, Lidingö City Library 2002

2016 Community Transit, with Amoeba Kollektiv, Centrum för fotografi, Stockholm
2014 Det okända (The unknown), with artist-run pop-up gallery 6T
2013 Participation in a yearbook for Swedish women photographers’ network Brudarna (Brännvidd Publ.) with exhibition in Stockholm, Berlin, London.
2006-2013 Photography Salon at Centrum för fotografi
2008 Selfportraits at Stockholm Photography Fair; Galleri Sjöhästen; Multiples at Hedengrens bookstore
2007 For the Forest at Haneusagi Gallery, Kyoto, Japan
2006 Active Artists Alliance, exhibition tour around New York State, USA
2004 Performance Duet for dancer and pianist with choreographer Pontus Lidberg and concert pianist Magnus Svensson at the Dance Museum, Centre Culturel Suédois in Paris, Vara concert hall etc.
2001 Centrum at Lidingö City Gallery
2000-2002 Stockholm Photography Fair, Wasahallen and Planket (GFU/Fotoskolan)
1998 Liquid Room at Röda Sten, Göteborg
1994-1998 Dancer and choreographer in various performance projects

2016 Art/photography collective Amoeba Kollektiv with Hans Malm and David Serinyà Puig after the exhibition Det Okända in 2014 at the artist-run pop-up gallery 6T. The collaborative project Community Transit was exhibited at the Photography Centre in 2016.2011 Drawings/book project with artist Danielle Myers.

Self-employed since 2000. Photographer, artist, writer, and/or project manager for private and public assignments since 1998 – for instance film program producer for the exhibition Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms at the Modern Museum in Stockholm in 2008, and organiser of the film festival Betting on Shorts in Stockholm in 2008-2009.  Circa twenty-five solo/group exhibitions, and a dozen culture-related articles. Assignments include photography and text production for articles, printed matter, press material, book and record covers, portraits, content for visual and performing arts projects. Selected clients: art journals Verk, Konstperspektiv, Omkonst and Konsten; news paper Dagens Nyheter; publishing house Wahlström & Widstrand; the Royal Institute of Technology, the Ballet Academy, Folkuniversitetet, the City of Lidingö. Poetry published in the book Förändring by Tempo Documentary Festival in 2000. Dancer and choreographer 1994-1998.

Essay on glitch artist David Serinyà Puig’s work for an exhibition at the Museum of Biology in Stockholm, and the Noorderlicht photography festival in Groningen.

Artist talk with glitch artist Wolfgang Lehmann, Hotel Diplomat

Interviews for national radio. A feature on “Digital mistakes” referencing my doctoral research in “Elektroniskt” (P2) 2017-01-22, and commentary on the digitization of artworks online for culture-related news program “Kulturnytt” (P1) 2017-01-17.

Presentations of the thesis at international book fairs like Paris Photo. Book release talk was published as an interview in art and photography journal Verk

2010-2011 Administrative Assistant, Department of Art History, Stockholm University
2008-2010 Organizer, shortfilm festival Betting on Shorts
2008 Project Coordinator for film programme, Moderna Museet
2000-2008 Bookstores: Moderna Museet, Hedengrens, Konst-ig, Sweden Bookshop

2012-2016 PhD, Art History, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University. Research visit to the United States 2013-09-12 – 2013-10-02. Archival studies and meetings with scholars at the Universities of Yale, Cornell, and Columbia.
2014 “Phenomenology, Space and the Visual”, PhD course, Franco-Norwegian Centre, Paris
2013 National PhD student seminar in Art History, Lund University. Research visit to New York City
2012 PhD Workshop “Visual Methods and Visual Culture”, Aarhus University
2011 Art History Scholarship, Swedish Institute, Rome (10 weeks)
2010-2012 MA, Aesthetical Disciplines, Stockholm University
2005-2007 BA, Art History, Cultural Studies, Stockholm University. Internship with curator Annika Gunnarsson, Moderna Museet
2000-2002 GFU/Fotoskolan, Folkuniversitetet (Photography school). Photography History, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. Internship with photographer Mats Bäcker, Royal Swedish Opera 2001
1987-1999 Graphic Design, Media Production. Swedish Ballet School. Ballet Academy

2014 Yoga teacher training, 200h, Yoga Makes a Difference
Fall 2014-Spring 2015 Teaching Hatha Flow and Hatha Flow Yin at Buddha Studio, Stockholm