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Ayesha Saeed

MA work

The Psychogeography of the Right Thumb.

The Psychogeography of the The Right Thumb is a new body of work about examining and interpreting one single image; it is the scan of my own right thumb print. It’s showing you a privileged view of being in the photograph/scan/ biometric image (whatever you may call it) that represents me in many digital systems around the world.

The photographs raise more questions rather than presenting resolved opinions or facts. It makes you think about identity, authority, surveillance , consent and the digital image. The code works as a metaphor in the work, the image that is the representation of the human code is represented in a form of a man made code to communicate with machines (hex code) in order to create another image that is the self portrait of being in today's time whether you understand the code or not.

The photographs that were created through the objective and logical approach towards the process of understanding that thumb print, ended up being a very personal journey once realised that it is disclosing itself. They show newly generated geological, or topographical landscapes which describes the internal space. It is a psychogeography of a personal data set. The exposing and encrypting aspects are equally important of myself, within myself. The realisation that such a simple indexical way of making an image leaves one with a prodigious amount of habitat to work in just amazes me. This series of work is an attempt to give a glimpse of what we do not perceive.


  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Photography, 2016

  • I am an artist born and raised in Pakistan. Currently based in London after being in Chicago for the past couple of years. I am drawn to structure, systems, looking into and upwards at things, objects or landscapes. The relationship between the structure of system and the point at which it collapses in the process is highly important to me. The starting point for my work is either intuitive, or it begins with a scientific, or logical inquiry, and goes through many investigational processes, eventually unfolding into something that informs ways of seeing and perceiving.

    The works are about pushing a photograph in a created structured system up to a brink where it breaks and give elements to work with. At times the elements are enough but occasionally they need to be intervened with in order for them to be resolved for me. I believe I am trying to understand photography in the context of taking a photograph in 2016, while still being in touch with artists like Agnes Martin, Sol Lewitt, Theo Van Doesburg and mathematician Bénoit Mandelbrot. The writings and works of these artists inform my practice. My process is very spiritual to me though calling it that seems limiting. There are underlying interests in and conversations with perception, technology, neurosciences, autism and systems in all the series and books that I have made so far.

  • Degrees

  • BFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA, 2013; BDes Communication Design, National College of Art, Lahore, Pakistan, 2010
  • Exhibitions

  • Artist Book: My autistic mind at work, Offprint London, Tate Modern, London, 2016; Art-Criticism-Séance, performance with Juan Cruz, Lychee One Gallery, London, 2016; Artist Book: Thinking, Offprint London, Tate Modern, London, 2015
  • Awards

  • Merit based Artist Grant, Vermont Studio Center, Vermont, 2015 ; Launch Invitational Residency Program, Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago, USA, 2013 ; Fred J. Forster Fellowship Award , Chicago, 2013, Bachelor Design Thesis Distinction Award, 2010.
  • Publications

  • Oophagy, RCA Photography, 2016 ; Self Published Publication, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Photo Catalogue, 2013