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Dr Erika Balsom

Dr Erika Balsom


Lecturer in Film Studies and in Liberal Arts

Tel +44 (0) 207 848 7559
Film Studies Department
King's College London
Norfolk Building
Strand Campus




  • PhD in Modern Culture and Media, Brown University, USA (2010).
  • MA in Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London.
  • BA Hons in Cinema Studies, University of Toronto, Canada.

Before joining the department at King’s in 2013, Erika Balsom held a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley (2010-2011) and was assistant professor of film studies at Carleton University, Ottawa (2011-2013).

Research Interests
  • moving image installation
  • experimental cinema
  • history of film theory
  • new media/old media
  • critical theory

Erika Balsom specializes in the study of the moving image in art and the history of experimental film. Her current research explores how artists and filmmakers have confronted the implications of the reproducibility of film and video. For some, the copy is a utopian promise to be exploited; for others, it is a dangerous threat to be suppressed. This monograph, under contract with Columbia University Press, explores this ambivalence of the copy and the accompanying issues of access, authenticity, and rarity through a comparative analysis of selected distribution models (such as the limited edition, digital bootlegging, and the 8mm reduction print) and case studies of key works that take up questions of image circulation.

More broadly, Erika’s research interests include experimental documentary, media archaeology, and exhibition history. She is currently co-editing an anthology on documentary across disciplines, to be published by MIT Press in 2016. Her 2013 monograph, Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art, confronts the changing contours of what we call “cinema” after digitization through an examination of uses of the moving image and references to film history in art since 1990. 

Erika Balsom welcomes PhD theses on any topics related to her research, including avant-garde film, artists’ cinema, film theory, new media, experimental documentary, and film distribution/ circulation.

For more details, please see her full research profile.

Selected Publications
  • “John Smith, The Girl Chewing Gum, 1976,” Tate In Focus (2015) 
  • “Parallax Pluralities: 3D Beyond the Feature Film,” Artforum (September 2015)
  • "Before Virtuality: Video Projection in the 1970s,” Exhibiting the Moving Image, ed. François Bovier and Adeena Mey (Zurich: JRP Ringier, 2015)
  • “Live and Direct: Cinema as a Performing Art,” Artforum (September 2014)
  • "Against the Novelty of New Media: The Resuscitation of the Authentic,” You Are Here: Art After the Internet, ed. Omar Kholeif (Manchester: Cornerhouse and SPACE, 2014)
  • Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013)
  • “Original Copies: How Film and Video Became Art Objects,” Cinema Journal 53.1 (2013)
For a complete list of publications, please see Erika's full research profile.

Erika Balsom has taught courses on moving image art, digital cinema, film theory, cinema and portraiture, the essay film, and theories of media temporality. 

Erika is on research leave in Autumn 2015. In Spring 2016, she will teach the MA Film Studies module The Moving Image in Art and the third-year
Liberal Arts module Originals and Copies.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Erika Balsom has lectured widely, including recent invited talks at the Centre Pompidou (Paris), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), LUX (London), Light Industry (New York), Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle, Copenhagen University, and the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh). She is a frequent contributor toArtforum and numerous exhibition catalogues.

In Spring 2014, she was a writer-in-residence at Fogo Island Arts. From 2012–15 she was co-chair of ExFM, the experimental film and media scholarly interest group at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. She is currently a trustee at LUX.

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