Ingrid Hoelzl

junior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2018/2019
discipline Cultural Studies
Assistant Professor, City University of Hong Kong

Research project

Postimage: The New Ecology of Vision


In my book, Softimage: Towards a New Theory of the Digital Image (2015), I have shown that with digital technologies, the photographic paradigm of the image put in place with the invention of the central perspective, is supplemented (but not replaced) by a new paradigm, the algorithmic. The image becomes soft, not only infinitely malleable but merged with software. It becomes operational, part of algorithmic processes, where the representational image (on our screens) acts as a lure for the actual processes of surveillance and control (behind the screen). In fact, the rapid developments in automated sensing systems, robotics and artificial intelligence seem to lead towards a (literally) post-human future where humanity will be at best ignored if not extinct.


In my EURIAS research project, Postimage: The New Ecology of Vision carried out at Collegium Helveticum, ETH Zurich I am exploring different panoramas with the help of feminist posthumanism, new materialism, environmental humanities and ecophenomenology – all of these approaches calling for an end of human suprematism (of which today's “Anthropocene” discourse is but a variant) and proposing a posthumanist ethics of immanence, inclusivity, care and kinship between species (Barad, 2007; Alaimo, 2010; Abram, 2010). The project explores the image as an 'eco-vision' – a relation between the geological, biological and technological beyond objectivation and causation, with humanist representation being a simple parenthesis in the history of imaging.




Ingrid Hoelzl is an image theorist and performance artist. She obtained her PhD at the Faculty of Cultural Studies at Humboldt University Berlin and has held lecturer, research and faculty positions worldwide, among them McGill University, City University of Hong Kong and the Central European University Budapest. In her research, which has been funded by the national research agencies of Austria and Hong Kong, she continually extended her field of inquiry from the photographic self-portrait to the digital image and the concept of the postimage. Her work on the status of the image in the digital environment has been widely published in peer-reviewed journals and anthologies as well as in exhibition catalogues. Since 2016, she is working on what she calls the postimage or the image after the humanisms.


In her performances, she strives to integrate free improvisation and conceptual performance, sound and movement, theory and affect, posthumanism and shamanism. In 2017, she developed the notion of “interspecies musicking”, the framework of an event she organized at Floating Projects, Hong Kong and of her album Frog People (soprano sax & tree frogs). In 2018, together with dancer Emese Kovacs) she developed the iterative performance Stringfigures and together with writer and art activist Remi Marie) the online platform for art, theory and activism, General Humanity.


Selected publications


'On the Future Evolution of the Image', with R. Marie, in M. Bohr & B. Silvia (eds), The Evolution of the Image: Political Action and the Digital Self, Routledge, London, 2018, pp. 131-143.


'Postimage', in R. Braidotti & M. Hlavajova (eds), Posthuman Glossary, Bloomsbury Academic, London/New Delhi/ Singapore, 2018, pp. 360-362.


'From Softimage to Postimage', with R. Marie, Leonardo, vol. 50, no. 1, 2017, pp. 72-73.


'Brave New City: The Place of the Image in the Urban Data-space', with R. Marie, Visual Communication, vol. 15, no. 3, 2016, pp. 171-191.


SOFTIMAGE: Towards a New Theory of the Digital Image, with R. Marie, Intellect-Chicago University Press, London/Chicago, 2015.



senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Collegium Helveticum
discipline Sociology
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
Collegium Helveticum
discipline Philosophy
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
Collegium Helveticum
discipline Philosophy
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Collegium Helveticum
discipline Law