Lila Lee-Morrison

PhD, Art History and Visual Culture Studies

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Personal profile

Research areas

Lila Lee-Morrison is currently a postdoctoral researcher on the DFF funded project titled, "Drone Imaginaries and Communities" (2020-2023). She continues her research interests developed during her PhD, which include art historical perspectives on machine vision, the visual culture of contemporary algorithmic logic and an inquiry into the wider social and political issues which these technologies engage in. Within this project, she is developing research themes at the intersection of machine vision and environment including an inquiry into technologically-lead perspectives of the planetary, theoretically framed by discourses of the Anthropocene, post-humanism and visual culture theory. 

She is co-guest editor of two forthcoming special theme Issues, firstly with Journal of Media Art Study and Theory (MAST) on the theme, "Automating Visuality" (Spring, 2022) and secondly with Media + Environment on the theme, "Machinic Landscapes" (2023). 

Lila completed a Ph.D. in the Division of Art History and Visual Studies at Lund University with the published dissertation titled, Portraits of Automated Facial Recognition: On Machinic Ways of Seeing the Face, (Transcript Verlag, 2019) in which she historcised contemporary facial recognition technologies, relating the eigenface algorithm with the historical practice of composite portraiture and the socio-political context of eugenics. WIthin this analysis, she poses an alternative visual logic available through the composite portrait referencing the work of philospher, Ludwig Wittgenstein and his concept of "aspect perception". This study also reviews the work of contemporary artists Zach Blas, Trevor Paglen and Thomas Ruff in their work highlighting different social and political investments found through technical representations of the face.  

Lila has previously written about the visual politics of drone warfare and on media representations of the migrant crisis. She has been published by MIT Press, Theory, Culture and Society, Brill Publications and Liverpool University Press.

She completed her Bachelors in Political Science (with a Minor in Media Studies) at Hunter College, New York.

Education/Academic qualification

Art History and Visual Culture Studies, PhD, Portraits of Automated Facial Recognition: On Machinic Ways of Seeing the Face, Lund University

14. Aug 201522. Nov 2019

Award Date: 22. Nov 2019

Visual Studies, MA, Drone Warfare: War in the Age of Digital Reproduction, Lund University

Award Date: 31. May 2012

Political Science, BA, Hunter College

Award Date: 23. Jan 2003

Research areas

  • Contemporary Art
  • Visual Culture Theory
  • Media Theory and Criticism
  • Politics of Culture
  • Digital Aesthetics
  • machinic vision
  • Visual Analysis
  • Cultural Forms of Expression
  • Perception
  • modes of perception of machine


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