Irit Rogoff is one of the initiators of the transdisciplinary field of Visual Culture and founder of the department at Goldsmiths. Her initiatives to establish this new field are led by a belief that we must work beyond bodies of inherited disciplinary knowledge and find motivation for knowledge production in the current conditions we are living out.
Her 1997 essay “Studying Visual Culture” (The Visual Culture Reader, ed. N. Mirzoeff, 1998, 2nd ed. 2002) articulated some of the substantive and methodological strands of this new field as a meeting ground between the philosophical, the political and contemporary creative practices.
In a series of ensuing texts Rogoff further expanded concerns in the field into participatory practices (“Looking Away – Participations in Visual Culture” in Art After Criticism, 2004 ) and the emergence of the curatorial as events of knowledge in the so called “Educational Turn” (‘Turning” e-flux Journal 2008 and ‘Education Actualised’ special issue of e-flux journal no.14, 2010, “Smuggling – An Embodied Criticality” 2008 , 2013 and “The Expanding Field” in The Curatorial, 2013).
Another strand of Rogoff’s work concerns geography, counter cartography and questions of Globalization. In publications such as “Terra Infirma – Geography’s Visual Culture” 2000, “Engendering Terror” (Geography and the Politics of Mobility 2002) , ‘The Where of Now’ (Time Zones, Tate Modern 2004), ‘GeoCultures – Circuits of Art and Globalization” (Open, no 16 , 2009) ‘Oblique Points of Entry” (Contemporary Art from the Middle East 2015) – Rogoff has explored how critical perspectives and emergent subjectivities form the basis for alternative understandings of the relations between subjects, places and spaces.
Rogoff works between academic teaching, theoretical writing, curatorial projects and organizing public study. Together with colleagues she formed the freethought collective in 2011 and they co-curated The Bergen Assembly in 2016.