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Dr Dan Smith

Senior Lecturer Fine Art Theory - BA
Chelsea College of Arts
Researcher Research
Dan  Smith


Dan Smith studied fine art in the early 1990s, and went on to develop Wunderkammer, a collaborative practice exploring notions of collection, display and material culture. He continues to explore this territory in his Museum Subjects project. He is also exploring forms of publication as event, combining sound and image in live performances, both in collaboration as The Department of Things to Come, and in solo performances.

Current research includes ongoing collaborative investigations of utopia, science fiction and spaces of publication, comics and graphic novels, graphic medicine, outsider art, and the necessary death of contemporary art.

He is the author of two books. Traces of Modernity (Zero Books 2012) offers critical engagements with four objects from the nineteenth century: The ruins of the Crystal Palace in Sydenham and the dinosaurs that remain, the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, Oxford's Pitt Rivers Museum and the short novel by H.G. Wells - The Time Machine. These provide very different forms of encounter, but are bound by the shadow of the Great Exhibition of 1851. These four objects are identified as formative traces of the past within the present. They provide models for critical thought and suggest answers to the problematic conditions that they present as ideologically specific relics from a previous age.

Agamben Reframed (I.B. Tauris, forthcoming) is an accessible account of Giorgio Agamben’s thought in relation to contemporary art and visual culture. Agamben’s ideas are brought to life here by diverse encounters, ranging from the work of artists such as Susan Hiller and Gordon Cheung, to The Hunger Games.


Current research students

  • Neil Farnan, Utopoly – a utopian research method (Joint supervisor)
  • Yang Liu, Visitors, Consumers and Conscious Agents: Shedding Light to the Role of Design in Promoting Awareness in Art Museum (Lead supervisor)
  • Charlie Murphy, Future Cycle: Feedback Loops in Speculative Graphic Fiction (Lead supervisor)

Past research students

  • Daniel Baker, Technologies of Subjectivity: The Museum Exhibition, the 18th Century South Pacific and the Production of the Modern Self. (Lead supervisor)