Vendela Grundell Photographic Thoughts

Vendela Grundell


VGG CV incl. publications and teaching

Contact: info (at) vendelagrundell (dot) com

Stockholm University Profile

View Vendela Grundell's profile on LinkedIn


I am an art historian focused on photo­graphy with non-norm­ative per­spectives on see­ing and being in a digital world (PhD, Stockholm University (2016). Recent projects include a thesis on glitch art and digital inter­­faces, a postdoctoral study on blind photographers and a new initiative on user ideals in AI-driven visual culture. Working internationally in inter­disci­plin­ary academic and creative settings: lectures, con­fer­ences, workshops, collaborations in visual and per­forming arts. Circa thirty exhibitions and twenty publications as a photo­grapher, artist and writer since 1998 – following a transition from dance that informs an in-depth approach to multi­­sensory embodiment. Pub­li­cations include a mono­­graph and a photography book, scienti­fic articles and book chapters, art essays and editorial features like reviews and interviews. Con­sist­ently com­mitted to philo­soph­ical and artistic in­quiry into societal concerns about the in­te­gration of technics and aesthetics, particularly mediations of places and identities.

Postdoctoral project 2018-2020 (Anna Ahlström & Ellen Terserus Foundation)

Department of Culture and Aesthetics at Stockholm University
Visiting Fellow, Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at 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.

Selected academic and artistic activities

Selected employments and grant-funded work
2018-2020 Postdoctoral project “Seeing Differently / Seeing Difference: Emancipation and Aesthe­tics in Photography by the Visually Impaired,” Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stock­holm University. Visiting Fellow, Department of Media, Com­muni­cations and Cultural Studies, Gold­smiths, University of London. Funded by Ahlström & Terserus Foundation (2 y, 100%). Travel grant from the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities.
2016-2017 Lecturer in Art History, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm Uni­versity (1 y 4 m, 20-50%). Art History I; Art History II; Image, History, Interpretation. Lecturer at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad, European Humanities, Stockholm/Copen­hagen (1 y 7 m, 25-40%). Nordic Contemporary Art; Impressionism in Paris. 400+ lecture hours on basic and advanced levels, including course convenor and supervisor. University pedagogy 10,5 ECTS, enrolled for 4,5 ECTS. Pedagogy conference with workshops and seminars, Danish Institute of Study Abroad 2016. Guest teach­ing since 2012 at e.g. Söder­törn, Gothenburg, and Stockholm universities, Foto­skolan Stock­holm and the Danish Institute for Study Abroad. Erasmus+ grant as teacher in digital art history and advisor in artistic research, Universi­teit van Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit, May/December 2017.
2010-2011 Amanuensis, Department of Art History, Stockholm University (1 y).
2010 Conference assistant, Department of Art History, Stockholm University (7 m).
2008-2009 Organiser of the international short-film festival Betting on Shorts (1 y 8 m).
2008 Film program coordinator, Modern Museum, Stockholm (3 m).
2000-2008 Bookstores: Moderna Museet, Hedengrens, Konst-ig, Sweden Bookshop
1998-ongoing Culture worker, mainly photography and text, self-employed since 2002 (22 y).

Selected international conference papers
2019 Accepted papers for conferences on medical imagery, the commons and media eco­logy, at Science Museum and Royal Geo­graphical Society in London and at Stockholm University.  
2018 “Seeing More or Less: Troubled Sight and Inner Vision in Photographs by the Visually Im­paired,” Art of the Invisible at the Courtauld Institute in London. “Material Agency and Sen­sory Challenge: Exploring Photography through Visual Impairment,” Nordik at Copen­hagen University. “User Bodies: (Self-) Representation between Ableism and Disability Aesthe­t­ics,” Digital Cultures at Leuphana University in Lüne­­burg. “See­ing by Taking Pictures without See­ing: Assistive Tech­no­logies in Photo­graphy by the Visually Impaired” Human-Technology Re­lations: Postphenomenology and Philosophy of Techno­logy at Twente Uni­versity in Enschede.
2017 “Glitched Bodies: Digital Critique in Photographs by the Visually Impaired,” Digital Existence II: Precarious Media Life, DIGMEX at Sigtuna Foundation in Sigtuna.
2016 “Interfacing Poetics: Glitch Art Transforming Spectatorship,” Poetics of the Algorithm: Narrative, the Digital, and Unidentified Media at Liège University. “The Cyborgian Portrait: Speak­­ing through Photographic Disruption,” Photo­media at Aalto University in Helsinki. 
2015 “Painting with Something: Media Merges in Contemporary Swedish Photography,” Nordik at University of Iceland in Reykjavik.
2014 “Interface Photography: Disruption as Tactical Experience,” Art Photography in Media En­vironments at Lusófona University in Lisbon (See Publications for revised extended paper).

Selected guest lectures, workshops and research presentations
2020 Coming: Lectures at Stockholm University; Gothenburg University; University of Arts, Craft and Design in Stockholm.
2019 “The Landscape of Digital Humanities,” Digital Humanities Stockholm, symposium at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Fotografi & forskning, photography art and re­search workshop, Centrum för fotografi in Stockholm.
2018 “Unruliness: Images against Normality,” lectures at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Coventry and Notting­ham Trent universities. “Making Change through the Human­ities: Institutes, Ideas and In­fra­structures,” symposium at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stock­holm. “Cultural Techniques,” workshop at Stock­holm Uni­versity. Linneaus University, Växjö.
2017 “Data-driven Research in the Humanities,” symposium at the Royal Institute of Techno­logy in Stockholm. “Per­form­ativity and Art­istic Practice” and “Acting Images: Under­standing the Agency and Mate­ri­a­l­­ity of Imagery and Visual Culture,” workshops at Stockholm Univer­sity. “Digital humanvetenskap: Litterär och visuell kultur i digitala miljöer”
[Digital Human Sciences: Literary and Visual Culture in Digital Environments], seminar at Stockholm University. Stockholm University Research Days (pre­sentation in Swedish here).
2016 “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 work­shop seminar at the Modern Museum in Stockholm. Read and listen here. Faculty colloquium, Danish Institute of Study (DIS), Copenhagen
2012-2015 Södertörn University in Stockholm and Valand Academy in Gothenburg.

Publications and exhibitions overview
1998-2020 Published texts – see CV. Academic: two peer-reviewed articles, four peer-reviewed book chapters, a revised and expanded edition of the doctoral thesis. Editorial: circa one dozen articles in news and special press, mainly culture-related (reviews, interviews, essays). Artistic: the self-published photo­graphy book Periscope, journal and catalogue features, essays, inter­views, and a poem. Swedish and inter­national, printed and open access online. Clients include journals Verk, Konstperspektiv, Omkonst, Danstidningen; news paper Dagens Nyheter;
1998-2020 Published photo­graphy: articles, printed matter, press material, book and record covers, portraits, and art projects. Clients in­clude art journals Konstperspektiv and Konsten; news paper Dagens Nyheter; publishing house Wahlström & Widstrand; schools the Royal Institute of Technology, the Ballet Academy, Folkuniversitetet; the City of Lidingö; private and professional people. 
1998-2016 Exhibitions. Twenty-one group exhibitions 2000-2016, five solo exhibitions 2001-2008. Collaborative film Community Transit with Amoeba Collective, exhibited at Centrum för foto­grafi in 2016. Swedish and international – art institutions, culture centres, fairs, online. Key theme Likely Landscapes, see Periscope portfolio, book and film

Recent publications
Grundell, Vendela (2019) “Rethinking while Redoing: Tactical Affordances of Assistive Technologies in Photography by the Visually Impaired.” Media Theory 3:1, 185-214.
Grundell, Vendela (2018) ”Navigating Darkness: A Photographic Response to Visual Impairment.” Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies 14:3, 193-210.

Forthcoming publications
Grundell, Vendela (2020) “Tactical Ambiguity: Materiality, Representation and Interaction in Evan Meaney’s Glitched Portraits,” in: S. Whatley and S. Popat, eds., Error, Ambiguity, Creativity: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. London: Palgrave.
Grundell, Vendela (2020) “Making Worlds: Normative and Other Art Histories, Seen through the Images of a Visually Impaired Photographer,” in: C. Persinger and A. Rejaie, eds., Socially Engaged Art History: Alternative Approaches to the Theory and Practice of Art History. London: Palgrave.
Grundell, Vendela (2020) “Unruliness Online: Activist Visuality in Glitch Art and Disability Aesthetics on Instagram,” in: D. White and S. Hartle, eds., Visual Activism in the 21st Century: Change and Resistance in an Uncertain World.

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.
Academic abstract

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

List of exhibitions, performances and cultural collaborations
2016 Community Transit, with Amoeba Kollektiv, Centrum för fotografi, Stockholm (collective)
2014 Det okända [The unknown], with artist-run pop-up gallery 6T (group)
2013 Yearbook, Swedish women photographers’ network Brudarna (Brännvidd Publ.) with exhibition in Stockholm, Berlin, London (group)
2011 Drawings/book project with artist Danielle Myers.
Photography Salon at Centrum för fotografi (group)
2008 Selfportraits at Stockholm Photography Fair, with Brudarna (group); Galleri Sjöhästen (duo); Multipler [Multiples] at Hedengrens bookstore (group)
2007-2008 Untitled at Hedengrens bookstore, Dansportalen and Turteatern (solo)
2007 For the Forest at Haneusagi Gallery, Kyoto, Japan (group)
2006 Active Artists Alliance, exhibition tour to several venues in New York State, USA (group)
2004 A film for the 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 (collaboration)
2003 Märken [Marks] at Galleri Zenit (solo); Bounce at Dansens Hus (solo); Besök [Visit] at Lidingö City Gallery (solo). The work Skuggan presented in photography journal Fotografisk Tidskrift 3/03 (portfolio)
2001 Stadsflöde [City flux] at the Italian Institute of Culture, and at Lidingö City Library 2002 (solo). Centrum [The Center] at Lidingö City Gallery (group).
2000-2002 Stockholm Photography Fair, Wasahallen and Planket (GFU/Fotoskolan)
1998 Flytande Rum / Liquid Room at Röda Sten, Göteborg
1994-1998 Dancer and choreographer in various performance projects

Creative, interdisciplinary, and communicative highlights
2020 Coming. “Normal Now! Art and Dis/ability in a Digital World,” symposium based on the postdoctoral project with a workshop and pre­sentations by international speakers, Department of Culture and Aesthetics at Stockholm University. Fotografi & forskning, curatorial program with exhibitions and symposiums at Centrum för fotografi in Stock­holm following a photo­graphy art and re­search workshop in 2019. Pecha Kucha presentation in Gothenburg.
2019 PhD examination board, Lund University. “Kännande bilder,” Centrum för fotografi.
2018-2019 Accelerator, interdisciplinary art and science research group, Stockholm Uni­versity.
2018-2019 Living Documents, essay for inter­national artistic research project, and moderator of a talk with the participants at the Modern Dance Theatre in Stockholm.
2017 Interviews for national radio: a feature on “Digital mistakes” referencing my doctoral research in “Elektroniskt” 2017-01-22 (P2), and a commentary on the digitization of artworks online for culture-related news program “Kulturnytt” (P1) 2017-01-17. Moderator of a talk with artist Wolfgang Lehmann in conjunction with exhibition.
2016 Book release for the doctoral thesis at Gothenburg Art Book Fair in September, and at Mindepartementet in Stockholm in November. The thesis has also been presented at international book fairs like Paris Photo since 2016.

2012-2016 Doctor of Philosophy in Art History, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stock­holm University. Thesis: Flow and Friction: On the Tactical Potential of Inter­facing with Glitch Art (PDF). Defended on 27 May 2016. Revised expanded edition, Art & Theory 2016. Research visit to the United States in September-October 2013 (3 w) with archival studies and meetings with scholars at Yale, Cornell, and Columbia universities. Doctoral workshops include “Phenomenology, Space and the Visual” at the Franco-Norwegian Centre in Paris and “Visual Methods and Visual Culture” at Aarhus University.
2010-2011 Master of Arts, Art History major, Aesthetical Disciplines, Stockholm University. Art History Scholarship 2011 (Romkursen), Swedish Institute, Rome (10 w).
2005-2008 Bachelor of Arts, Art History major, Cultural Studies (Kulturvetarlinjen), Stockholm University. Internship with curator Annika Gunnarsson, Moderna Museet.
2000-2002 Photography Diploma, GFU and Fotoskolan Stockholm, Folkuniversitetet. Photography History, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. Internship with photographer Mats Bäcker, Royal Swedish Opera 2001.
1987-1999 Graphic Design, Media Production 1999. Ballet Academy 1993-1995. Royal Swedish Ballet School 1987-1993. 

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