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Projects Research Area 2

Spectating as Epistemic Practice (2022-)

Torsten Jost's research project examines "spectating as epistemic practice". It investigates the material, intermedial and intercultural dynamics seen in formation processes of discourses on spectatorship. In particular, it explores how intercultural practices and processes of collaboration and exchange can motivate critiques as well as transformations of epistemologies (re)generated by spectatorial practices, specifically in the performing arts.

Writing of the Wordless. Literary Pantomime around 1900 (2022-)

How does literature represent the movement of bodies? The project “Writing of the Wordless. Literary Pantomime around 1900”, examines pantomime in early 20th century literature and art, and shows that pantomime plays a crucial role in revealing the mimetic strategies of texts. Because pantomime occupies a status between dancing, acting and writing, an analysis of these texts enables a fruitful dialogue between film, literary modernism and performance studies.

Counter Narrative Potency of Amateur Performance: An Aesthetic Strategy (2021-)

The current PhD project aims to scrutinise amateurism in performance as a political force and an aesthetic strategy, and to investigate its capacity to counter hegemonic cultural grand narratives. Using both historical and contemporary case studies from Iran and Germany, it focuses on how amateur performance can serve as resistance and point of opposition in the face of commoditised culture and institutionalised sociocultural rationalities, consequently constituting communities of alterity, both aesthetically and politically. A further focal point of the project concerns the question of how amateur performance responds to the general question of identity, both communal and individual (from the standpoint of its temporal constitution).

Ultraworlds. Radical Languages of Form in the Productions of Susanne Kennedy, Lucia Bihler, and Florentina Holzinger (2021-)

In her research project, Hannah Schünemann looks at the works of the directors Susanne Kennedy and Lucia Bihler, as well as of the choreographer Florentina Holzinger, to examine a young generation of artists who paradigmatically stand for a formal change in the performing arts since the 2010s, breaking away from the aesthetics of the preceding decades and the status quo of post-dramatic theatre. The focus of the analysis is on the formal composition of the productions, their bodily, technical, material and media components, and their interaction. Gesture forms the theoretical foundation for considering and describing performative bodies on stage. Proceeding from Judith Butler's definition, the project follows a partial cross-section through the theoretical history of gesture to Bertolt Brecht, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida, and works out possible correspondences and contradictions to the formal languages of the 21st century.

Earth(ly) Matters. How Natural Environments Travelled to Exhibition Spaces (2021-)

The research project "Earth(ly) Matters. How Natural Environments Travelled to Exhibition Spaces" is based on the observation that art exhibitions of the past decade have not only begun presenting but actively engage in the discourse around the Anthropocene. The nomenclature was popularised by scientist Paul Crutzen in 2002; yet related conceptions regarding the reciprocity between human interaction and the natural environment can be traced back to artistic practices and exhibitions since the 1960s. The research project analyses the role that art exhibitions play not only within the narration, but also in the formation of this discourse, in order to answer the question through what material means art exhibitions mediate the complex implications of this theory. The underlying key question being how exhibitions dealing with the ongoing discourse around "the Anthropocene" connect different communities across the globe, as well as through different temporalities.

Transnational Representations of War and Migration in Theatre and Literature (2020-)

The exploration of transnational movements in literature and theatre is not to be achieved without cultural and aesthetical reflections on entanglement of time and space. In a historical and systematic perspective, the project deals with transnational ties in literature and theatre after World War II and in the present. The main focus lies on determining how war, displacement and migration correlate to the transnational and transcultural character of theatrical scenography and literature topologies. The crossing of borders and spaces constitutes not only a transgression of physical borders but also of symbolic ones. These movements are also connected to concepts of temporality, which affect the outer processuality of time and acting as well as the inner one of generating the subject and its identity.

Visual Translations – Material Transformations (2020-)

One major factor in keeping texts and literatures relevant across space and time and in allowing them to circulate is their translatability. The history of a text is always also the story of its material rendering and its formal aesthetic composition. The project begins its explorations with late medieval manuscripts, on the basis of which principles of layout design were developed that remain valid even today. These principles give rise to wide-ranging and complex questions relating to the material contexts of texts and their semantics.

Circulating Narratives – Entangling Communities: Case Studies in Global Performance Art (2020-)

The Transfer Project "Circulating Narratives – Entangling Communities: Case Studies in Global Performance Art" will explore how diverse histories inform performative practices and shape communities as embodied knowledge. In collaboration with Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, the project will primarily focus on the intersections between Southeast Asian and 'Western' performative practices while addressing the blind spots in traditional historiography in 'the West' as well as the consequences of colonialism and relationships capable of advancing the deconstruction of the 'Western' canon.

Extended Audiences (2019-)

"Extended Audiences" will investigate the ways in which performances are seminal for the formation of temporal communities that both emerge from and transcend co-present theatrical communities. Issues of performance and audience involvement always have a temporal dimension: ephemeral as the moment of a recital or performance may seem, an audience's engagement with the literary experience outlasts the actual event.

The Wandering Torso: Becoming Fragment in Early Modern Material Culture (2019-)

The aim of this project is a book-length study on the entanglement of the most famous fragment in Western culture – the so called Torso Belvedere – with the aesthetic concepts of body and materiality in the European Early Modern period. The medial and material transformations of the Torso in art and literature will be examined in the broader context of antiquity reception, medical knowledge, and cultural techniques.