Dr Lisa Blackmore

School of Philosophy and Art History
Dr Lisa Blackmore



Lisa researches the aesthetics and politics of modernity in Latin American and Caribbean art, architecture, and visual culture, exploring historical contexts and epistemic pacts that entangle vision with power and knowledge. Her first book Spectacular Modernity: Dictatorship, Space and Visuality in Venezuela, 1948-1958, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2017, drew on her AHRC funded doctoral dissertation in which she analysed an array of visual and spatial phenomena, from vintage newsreel and state propaganda to carnival pageants and military parades. After receiving her PhD in 2011, she taught at universities in Caracas and Leeds, and has worked as a curator and translator, focusing particularly on issues of memory, space, and digital culture. The postdoctoral research she developed at the University of Zurich from 2014 till 2017 sought to expand the repertoire of the modern landscape in Latin America by directing attention to its blind spots: disordered forms of nature, ruination and memory, caused by different types of violence. As part of this project, Lisa collaborated with filmmaker Jorge Domínguez Dubuc to co-direct a feature-length documentary film called Después de Trujillo/After Trujillo (2016), which assessed the spatial legacies of Dominican dictactor Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961) and the cultures of memory and amnesia related to his regime. She is currently co-editing two volumes on culture and politics in Venezuela. She joined the School of Philosophy and Art History as Lecturer in Art History and Interdisciplinary Studies in 2017.


  • PhD Birkbeck College, University of London, Latin American Cultural Studies

  • MA Birkbeck College, University of London, Latin American Cultural Studies (Cultural Theory & Critique)

  • MA (Cantab) University of Cambridge, Modern & Medieval Languages (French & Spanish)


University of Essex

  • Lecturer in Art History and Interdisciplinary Studies, School of Philosophy and Art History University of Essex ( 1/8/2017 - present )

  • Director of Latin American Studies, University of Essex ( 1/8/2017 - present )

Other academic

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Zurich ( 1/9/2014 - 31/7/2017 )

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Modernity in Latin America

Visual culture

Space and politics

Memory politics

Human-nature relations

Water, hydraulics, liquid ecologies in the arts

Environmental aesthetics


Digital culture

Contemporary visual production in Latin America

Current research

Spatial Legacies of Dictatorship: My current research centres on spatial legacies of dictatorship in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, and these countries' memory politics and historical amnesias. As well as tracing the uses of architecture and space to shore up authoritarian regimes, I explore the ways that such sites often slip from view and become ruins of dictatorship, and examine how contemporary artists recuerate such sites in their work to shed light on blind spots of collective memory.

Modern Ruins: I am completing a multi-disciplinary, co-edited volume on El Helicoide: a modernist, spiral-shaped, drive-through shopping center built in the 1950s in Caracas, then left unfinished, used as an emergency shelter for flood victims, then eventually taken over by the intelligence police as a headquarters and jail. Combining archival documents, critical analysis, literary texts, and visual commentary, the book traces the turbulent history of this living ruin and reveals the dystopic side of urban modernity.

Hydraulics and Aesthetics: Parallel to this, I am working on two articles that address the intersection of hydraulics and aesthetics in spatial arrangements and visual production, looking at human-nature relations in fluvial landscapes, hydropower, river shanty towns, and ecocritical art.

PROYECTO HELICOIDE. With Celeste Olalquiaga, Caracas-New York-Santiago.

VENEZUELA RESEARCH NETWORK. With Dr. Penélope Plaza (University of Reading), Dr. Rebecca Jarman (University of Leeds).

Conferences and presentations

Como estar preso en un barril de petróleo: El imaginario desmemoriado de la modernidad venezolana, LASA Congress, Washington, 2731 May 2103

Hydraulics and Aesthetics in the Orinoco Basin. Natura: Environmental Aesthetics After Landscape, University of Zurich, 13 June 2017

Contraflujos: Imaginarios hidráulicos y ecologías residuales en la República Dominincana. LASA Congress, Lima, Peru, 28 April1 May 2017

Después de Trujillo: Telling Stories - Academic Research and Filmmaking, LASA Congress,Lima, Peru, 28 April1 May 2017

Archival Landscapes and Epistemic Frontiers: Notes on the Work of Ángela Bonadies. College Art Association, New York, 1518 February 2017

Kino Toni, ZhDK, Zurich,1 April 2017

Ethnokino, University of Bern, 27 March 2017

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, 16 February 2017

Skidmore College John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative, 13 February 2017

University of Toronto (Mississagua & St George Campuses), 8-9 Feburary 2017

Life Aquatic: Contemporary Dominican Landscapes. ABRALIC, Rio de Janeiro, 1923 September 2016

Blind Spots in the Modern Landscape, LASA Congress, New York, 27 May1 June 2016

Blind Spots: Towards a Revision of the Modern Landscape, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies Conference, University of Oxford, 6-7 January 2016

Broadcast on Canal 4, Dominican Republic, 18 December 2016

Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana, Santo Domingo, 8 December 2016

Escuela de Cine, TV, y Fotografía, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, 7 December 2016

Chavón Escuela de Diseño, Santo Domingo, 7 December 2016

Chavón Escuela de Diseño, La Romana, 1 Decemer 2016

Centro Eduardo Jiménes León, Santiago, 30 November 2016

Archivo General de la Nación, Santo Domingo, 29 November 2016

School of Architecture, Universidad Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Santo Domingo, 28 November 2016

School of Architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, Santo Domingo, 22 November 2016

Modern Ruins and Contemporary Art: Towards a New Monumentality? 17th Colloquium for Young Researchers of Art History, University of Zurich, 6-7 November 2015

Adubaram a terra com o própio sangr. A paisagem natural nas conmeoraçoes das irmas Mirabal. A Naturaleza dos discursos, Casa Rui Barbosa, Rio de Janeiro, 16-17 July 2015

Escombros: Cimientos del paisaje moderno. Paisajes modernos de América Latina y el Caribe, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, Santo Domingo, 5-6 June 2015

Tortured Bodies as Lieux de Mémoire, LASA Congress, San Juan, 27 May1 June 2015

Phantom Pavilions: El Helicoide and La Torre de David as Contested Microcosms of the Nation-State, Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS) Conference, University of Aberdeen, 1718 April 2015

Tell me the truth... The Problematic Status of Photography in Contemporary Venezuela, LASA Congress, Chicago, 2124 May 2014

Promiscuous Images: Censorship and Collective Authorship in the work of Érika Ordosgoitti, Society for Latin American Studies Conference, Birkbeck College, 3-4 April 2014

Capture Life: Tropes of the Archive in Recent Venezuelan Visual Culture, Art et mondialisation, Centre Pompidou & Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, 14-15 November 2013

Cuerpo político/cuerpor dócil: Críticas y alteraciones del aparato del poder desde la fotografía contemporánea venezolana, PhotoEspaña: Encuentro de Críticos y curadores. Miami, 3-4 December 2012

Teaching and supervision

  • Art in Latin America (AR219)

  • Art and Power (AR223)

  • Art, Architecture and Urbanism (AR943)

  • Introduction to Contemporary Latin America (CS141)

  • Navigating the Digital World (CS220)

  • Crisis of the American Idea (CS261)


Journal articles (8)

Blackmore, LM., Contraflujos: Poder hidráulico y ecologías residuales en el paisaje dominicano. Revista Iberoamericana

Blackmore, L., (2018). Collective memory and research-led filmmaking: Spatial legacies of dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. Popular Communication. 16 (2), 90-105

Blackmore, LM., (2017). Ruinas modernas y arte contemporáneo: El caso de El Helicoide de la Roca Tarpeya. Cuadernos de Literatura. 21 (42)

Blackmore, L., (2017). El Helicoide and La Torre de David as Phantom Pavilions: Rethinking Spectacles of Progress in Venezuela. Bulletin of Latin American Research. 36 (2), 206-222

Blackmore, L., (2015). Violence in the Jardín de (la) Patria: The Monumentalisation of the Mirabal Sisters and the Trauma Site in the Dominican Postdictatorship. Mitologías hoy. 12, 101-101

Blackmore, L., (2015). Online photography beyond the selfie : The “shareware body” as tactical media in works by Érika Ordosgoitti. Artelogie. 7

Blackmore, L., (2014). Capture Life: The ‘Document-Monument’ in Recent Commemorations of Hugo Chávez. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies. 23 (3), 235-250

Blackmore, L., (2014). Tecnologías visuales y el "archivo" de la desmemoria: El caso de Se llamaba SN. Estudios: Revista de Investigaciones Literarias y Culturales. .39 (2012), 127-157

Books (3)

Blackmore, L. and Olalquiaga, C., (2018). Downward Spiral: El Helicoide's Descent from Mall to Prison. 978-1-947198-00-5

Andermann, J., Blackmore, L. and Carrillo Morell, D., (2018). Natura Environmental Aesthetics After Landscape. diaphanes. 3035800537. 9783035800531

Blackmore, L., (2017). Spectacular Modernity Dictatorship, Space, and Visuality in Venezuela, 1948-1958. University of Pittsburgh Press. 0822964384. 9780822964384

Book chapters (6)

Blackmore, LM. and Olalquiaga, C., (2018). Introduction. In: Downward Spiral: El Helicoide's Descent from Mall to Prison. Editors: Blackmore, L. and Olalquiaga, C., . Urban Research/Terreform. 6- 11. 978-1-947198-00-5

Blackmore, LM., (2018). Out of the Ashes: Building and Rebuilding the Nation. In: Downward Spiral: El Helicoide's Descent from Mall to Prison. Editors: Blackmore, L. and Olalquiaga, C., . Urban Research/Terreform. 68- 79. 978-1-947198-00-5

Blackmore, LM., (2018). Makeshift Modernity: Container Homes and Slumscrapers. In: Downward Spiral: El Helicoide's Descent from Mall to Prison. Editors: Blackmore, L. and Olalquiaga, C., . Urban Research / Terreform. 156- 171. 978-1-947198-00-5

Blackmore, LM., (2018). Colonizing Flow: Hydropower and Post-Kinetic Assemblages in the Orinoco Basin. In: Natura: Environmental Aesthetics After Landscape. Editors: Andermann, J., Blackmore, L. and Carrillo Morell, D., . diaphanes / University of Chicago Press

Blackmore, LM., (2018). Original Copies and Obscure Traces: Ángela Bonadies' Metaphotographic Inquiries. In: The Matter of Photography in the Americas. Editors: Brizuela, N. and Roberts, J., . Stanford University Press. 92- 93. 1503605426. 9781503605428

Blackmore, LM., (2017). Cine en postdictadura. La memoria cultural de las hermanas Mirabal. In: La gran pantalla dominicana. Miradas críticas al cine actual. Editors: Tolentino, A. and Tomé, P., . Almenara Press. 31- 60

+44 (0) 1206 872192


6.139, Colchester Campus

More about me
Documentary "After Trujillo" (2016):
Personal website:
Venezuela Research Network: