Pasi Väliaho

Professor - History of Art
Image of Pasi Väliaho
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22845503
Visiting address Blindernveien 31 Georg Morgenstiernes hus 0313 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 1020 Blindern 0315 Oslo

Academic interests

My work explores the possibilities of feeling, imagining, and thinking that technologies of vision and visualizing make available to different cultures in different times. Especially, my research charts the contribution of visual media to the histories of knowledge, capital, and colonialism.

I have thus far written three monographs, a trilogy on screen media from the seventeenth century until the present. The latest book, Projecting Spirits: Speculation, Providence, and Early Modern Optical Media (Stanford University Press, 2022), demonstrates the place and meaning of optical media – the camera obscura and the magic lantern – in the crucial intellectual as well as economic transition in early modernity from a providential to a speculative concept of the world. The first book, Mapping the Moving Image: Gesture, Thought, and Cinema circa 1900 (Amsterdam University Press, 2010) plotted cinema’s contribution to changing scientific and philosophical conceptions of the human during the period of its emergence at the turn of the nineteenth century. The second book, Biopolitical Screens: Image, Power, and the Neoliberal Brain (MIT Press, 2014), investigated the digital interactive screen culture in the beginning of the twenty-first century, focusing on the political implications of the brain-screen interfaces of video games and virtual reality applications.

My current research is on “sensors of capital,” which maps practices of screening and visualization within the Western colonial program and beyond. This includes research into the optical media and draughtsmen employed by the English East India Company, as well as the visual technologies engaged in the exploration and potential exploitation of the deep sea floor, which represents perhaps the last episode in the long history of terrestrial globalization.

I am a member of the Visual Studies research group at IFIKK, as well as the Screen Cultures research initiative at the Faculty of Humanities.

Courses taught

KUN2235/4235 Archaeology of the Moving Image

KUN1003 Introduction to Visual Studies

KUN2232/4232 Philosophies of the Image

MEVIT4700 Screen Histories and Theories


Before taking up my position at IFIKK, I was Reader in Film and Screen Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. I earned my doctorate from the University of Turku, Finland, where I am also a Docent in Media History and Theory.

Tags: Art History, Media Archaeology, Aesthetics, Screen Cultures


Books and Journal Issues

  • Projecting Spirits: Speculation, Providence, and Early Modern Optical Media. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2022.

  • Biopolitical Screens: Image, Power, and the Neoliberal Brain. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014.

  • “Rhythm, Movement, Embodiment,” special issue of Body & Society 20:3-4, 2014 (ed. with Julian Henriques and Milla Tiainen).

  • Mapping the Moving Image: Gesture, Thought, and Cinema circa 1900. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2010.


  • "The Brain's Labor: On Marxism and the Movies." In The Anthem Handbook of Screen Theory, ed. Tom Conley and Hunter Vaughan, 13-32. London: Anthem Books, 2018.

  • "Animation and the Powers of Plasticity." animation: an interdisciplinary journal 12:3 (2017): 259-271.

  • "Shadows of Expectation: Robert Hooke's Picture Box and the Visual Economy of Projection." Grey Room 68 (Summer 2017): 6-31.

  • “Solitary Screens: On the Recurrence and Consumption of Images.” In Compact Cinematics: The Moving Image in the Age of Bit-Sized Media, ed. Pepita Hesselberth and Maria Poulaki, 123-129. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017.

  • "Stills from a Film That Was Never Made: Gesture, Cinema, Memory." In Memory in Motion: Archives, Technology, and the Social, ed. Ina Blom, Trond Lundemo & Eiving Røssaak. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016.

  • “Verkörperter Bildkasten: Projektive Bildschirme und visuelle Imperien um 1700.” In Bildwelten des Wissens: Kunsthistorisches Jahrbuch für Bildkritik, vol. 12: “Image Guidance: Bedingungen bildgeführter Operation”, ed. Kathrin Friedrich, Moritz Queisner, and Anna Roethe, 62-72. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016.

  • “Marey’s Gun: Apparatuses of Capture and the Operational Image.” In Téchnē/Technology: Researching Cinema and Media Technologies – Their Development, Use, and Impact, ed. Annie van den Oever, 169-176. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2014.

  • “Biopolitics of Gesture: Cinema and the Neurological Body.” In Cinema and Agamben: Ethics, Biopolitics and the Moving Image, ed. Asbjørn Grønstad & Henrik Gustafsson, 103-120. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.

  • “The Light of God: Notes on the Visual Economy of Drones.” NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies, Autumn 2014 (

  • “Video Games and the Cerebral Subject: On Playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.Body & Society 20:3-4 (2014): 113-139.

  • “Spellbound: Early Cinema’s Transformational Spaces.” Space & Culture 16:2 (2013): 161-172.

  • “Affectivity, Biopolitics and the Virtual Reality of War.” Theory, Culture & Society 29:2 (2012): 63-83.

  • “Cinema’s Memoropolitics: Hypnotic Images, Contingent Pasts, Forgetting.” Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture 33:3 (2011): 322-341.

  • Väliaho, Pasi Petteri (2019). To Wrest Something Magical from the World. Mantis: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism and Translation. ISSN 1540-4544. p. 195–200.
  • Väliaho, Pasi Petteri (2018). The Brain’s Labor: On Marxism and the Movies. In Conley, Tom & Vaughan, Hunter (Ed.), The Anthem Handbook of Screen Theory. Anthem Press. ISSN 9781783088232. p. 13–32. doi: 10.2307/j.ctv43vr5c.7.
  • Väliaho, Pasi Petteri (2018). In the Cutting Room of History. In Cavallotti, Diego; Dotto, Simone & Quaresima, Leonardo (Ed.), A History of Cinema Without Names/3. Mimesis International. ISSN 9788869771354. p. 263–268.
  • Väliaho, Pasi Petteri (2017). Animation and the Powers of Plasticity. Animation. ISSN 1746-8477. 12(3), p. 259–271. doi: 10.1177/1746847717740093. Full text in Research Archive
  • Väliaho, Pasi Petteri (2017). Shadows of Expectation: Robert Hooke's Picture Box and the Visual Economy of Projection. Grey Room. ISSN 1526-3819. p. 6–31. doi: 10.1162/GREY_a_00225. Full text in Research Archive

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Published June 23, 2017 3:56 PM - Last modified Sep. 30, 2022 2:22 PM

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