History of Art


Dr Cadence Kinsey



Cadence Kinsey

Cadence Kinsey is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art. Her research centres on constructions of subjectivity and identity in the post-2008 period and is informed by feminist science & technology studies and sociology. Cadence has published research on (and with) emerging artists in relation to the Internet and digital technologies in both academic and non-academic contexts and her first book, Walled Gardens: Autonomy, Automation, and Art After the Internet, is out now with OUP. She is currently at work on a new project on social class.

Contact Details

Office: 305, 21 Gordon Square 
Office Hours: Thursdays 10:00-11:00 and Fridays 16:00-17:00
+44 (0)20 7679 2879 (internal 32879) 
Email: cadence.kinsey@ucl.ac.uk


Associate Professor in Contemporary Art 
Dept of History of Art 
Faculty of S&HS

Research Themes

Contemporary art, social class, histories of art and technology, live art and performance, questions of gender and subjectivity.


Cadence is interested in constructions of subjectivity and identity in the contemporary period, in particular examining the ways art both reflects and mediates relationships between the body and technology, the individual and the social, and different vectors of identification.

Focusing on art works produced between 2008 and 2016 in Europe and the US, Cadence’s book Walled Gardens: Autonomy, Automation, and Art After the Internet (OUP, 2021) situates the emergence of what has come to be known as ‘post-Internet art’ in a historical context of global economic downturn and climate catastrophe, positing that new Internet technologies were developed in a mutually co-constitutive relationship with crisis. Strikingly, many artists have chosen to work with rather than against these technologies and, in so doing, perform complicity with the very structures that they seek to interrogate. Walled Gardens asks how we might make sense of this assimilation with proprietary technologies, and argues that what these artworks reveal is a model of subjectivity conditioned by a dynamic between autonomy and automation.

Cadence is currently working on a new research project looking at the problem of social class within contemporary art. Despite the fact that an analysis of social class can offer a profound and powerful approach to thinking about society, identity, and belonging, the discourses of social class have yet to be fully opened up in the context of contemporary art. This is perhaps especially surprising given that the frameworks for understanding class have shifted radically in recent years, particularly in the UK, where the traditional formulations of ‘upper’, ‘middle’ and ‘lower’ have given way to new concepts such as ‘the precariat’ and ‘emergent service workers’. While such concepts have helped to illuminate the structure of artistic labour as fundamentally precarious, their usage often attends neither to the cultural, emotional, and social dimensions of class nor to its affective dimensions and how it plays out in the formal dynamics of contemporary art. Seeking to re-centre thinking about social class alongside other vectors of identification, this project will consider the following questions: How do questions of social class bear upon the contexts that artists operate within? How is class figured through specific material practices and formal dynamics in contemporary art? And to what extent can we understand class as a category of (dis)identification, particularly in the context of thinking about models of artistic subjectivity?


Selected Publications


Walled Gardens: Autonomy and Automation in Art After the Internet (Oxford: Oxford University Press, October 2021)

Journal articles

‘Fluid Dynamics: On the Representation of Water and Discourses of the Digital’, Art History, Vol.43, issue 3 (June 2020), pp.510-537

‘Blind Windows’ History of the Human Sciences special issue: ‘Total Archive’, vol. 31, no.5 (2019), pp.154-182

‘Strange Bodies’, Artalk Revue special Issue ‘Diagnosis’ No.2 (Summer 2018)

‘Matrices of Embodiment: Re-Thinking Binary and the Politics of Digital Representation’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol.39 (2014), pp.897-925 [shortlisted for Catharine Stimpson Prize for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship]


‘Why Art History Hates Timelines (Especially on the Blockchain)’ in Catlow, R. & Rafferty, P. (eds) Radical Friends, Decentralised Autonomous Organisations and the Arts ([no place]: Torque Editions, 2022), pp. 247-250

‘Archetype and Authenticity’ in Ulfsdotter, B. & Backman Rogers, A. (eds.) Female Authorship and the Documentary Image (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018), pp.23-37

‘How Close do You Want Me to Be: Kate Craig’s Delicate Issue’ in Rawes, P., Loo, S. & Matthews, T. (eds.) Poetic Biopolitics (London: I.B. Tauris, 2016), pp.46-62

‘Being Visible’ in Burbridge, B. (ed) Photoworks Annual: Photography, Art, Visual Culture, Issue 22 ‘Women’ (London: Photoworks, 2016), pp. 82-95

‘Post-media/Post-medium: The Impact of Technology on the Ontology of Painting’ in Apprich, C., et al (eds.) Provocative Alloys: A Post Media Anthology (London & Lüneburg: Leuphana Universität Lüneburg & Mute, 2014), pp.68-83


‘Andesite: Miriam Austin’, w/Thomas Morgan Evans Bosse & Baum (December 2020)

‘A Priori / Post Hoc’ in I was Raised on the Internet exh. cat. (London & NY: Prestel and MCA Chicago, 2019), pp.61-72

‘Cache’ in Sickly Revelations exh. cat. (London: OH and Cornerhouse publishing, 2016)

‘The Instagram Artist Who Fooled Thousands’, BBC Culture (March 2016)

‘Gyre’, New Feminisms series, Artyčok (March 2015)

‘Maja Cule: Facing the Same Direction’, DisMagazine (November 2014)

‘Becoming Camwhore, Becoming Pizza: Interview with Arcadia_Missa, Ann Hirsch and Jennifer Chan’, MetaMute (Nov 2012)

‘Toward Embodiment’ in The Body in Women’s Art Now, Part 3: ReCreation exh. cat. (London: Rollo Gallery Publications 2011), pp.19-30

‘Body Architectures, Cellular Identities and Online Representation in the Work of Helen Carmel Benigson’ in Helen Carmel Benigson exh. cat. (London: Rollo Gallery Publications 2011), pp.18-31

Book reviews

Eva Respini Art in the Age of the Internet. Sculpture Journal, Vol.29, no.1 (January 2020), pp.109-111

Amelia Jones Self/Image: Technology, Representation and the Contemporary Subject. Object, No. 10 (2007/2008), pp.130-132

Teaching and Supervision

Cadence teaches undergraduate modules on the histories of performance and art and technology, including:

Art or Science?
Art After the Internet

She also teaches an MA special subject entitled ‘Toil & Trouble: Feminism and Contemporary Art Now!’

Cadence is interested in supervising doctoral students working in the histories of performance, art and technology, social class, questions of gender and subjectivity.

Prospective students should contact her directly to discuss their proposals at: cadence.kinsey@ucl.ac.uk

Current PhD Students:

Zaena Sheehan, 'Porous Bodies: Ecologies of Matter in Contemporary Art’

Amber Husain, 'Psychosomatics of Refusal: British art and biopower, 1982–1998’

Cora Chalaby, 'Indeterminacy and Painting: Helen Frankenthaler, Alma Thomas, Joan Mitchell'

Emily McFarlane, ‘Cybersomatics: Functions of the Flesh in Cyberfeminist Art’

Katherine Whittell, 'Clear Boundaries: Interfaces and Art from 1965 – 2019'

Past Research Students:

Gabe Beckhurst, ‘Leave No Trace: Incongruous Environmental Affiliations in American Art since 1970’

Francesca Curtis, ‘Observe, Submerge, Speculate: Contemporary Art and the Ocean Beyond the Visible’


Cadence is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art at University College London. She received her PhD from UCL in 2012, following which she taught at the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Slade School of Fine Art, and Imperial College London. She was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow for three years before taking up post as Lecturer in Recent & Contemporary Art at the University of York in 2016. She returned to join the History of Art department at UCL as a permanent member of staff in 2019. Cadence also holds a Diploma in Fine Art Foundation from UAL and a professional horticulture qualification. She runs her local community garden.