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PhD Projects

Helene Romakin

Helene Romakin

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Helene Romakin is a cultural scientist and curator. Recently she curated the exhibition “Studienraum Jörg Schlick” at the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien, Graz, and published the accompanying comprehensive monograph and catalogue raisonné with Buchhandlung Walther König. Together with Cora Hansen and Stefanie Hessler, she is the co-founder and curator of the Berlin-based non-profit project for contemporary art LET THERE BE_. Romakin is a regular contributor to the online magazine artfridge.de. Currently she is the editor and assistant curator for the “Invitations” project at Archiv der Avantgarden, Dresden.

The Anthropocene and Visual Culture – Material Strategies in Contemporary Art

The dissertation investigates visual culture and materiality in contemporary art in the context of discourse surrounding the Anthropocene. Taking it as a lens, through which material strategies are analyzed, the project follows the shift in the cultural understanding of nature from the sublime and remote otherness towards an interdependent ecological system with human and non-human actors. Particularly, by exploring the notion of materiality in visual culture this project examines how this paradigmatic turn is illustrated and dealt with in artistic practices and strategies in recent years.

The project argues that an expanded definition of materiality has evolved as an immanent aesthetic strategy in the visual culture of the Anthropocene. This new material aesthetics has occurred through the increasing environmental consciousness informed by the advancement of research in different disciplines from natural sciences and humanities, while offering tools to engage with the environment beyond politically motivated activism and the idea of autonomous aesthetics. The context of this new material aesthetics will be analyzed in this project through case studies by the artists Lara Almarcegui and Pierre Huyghe.


PhD supported by SNF, 1st supervisor: Prof. Dr. Philip Ursprung, Chair for the History of Art and Architecture, Institute for the History and Theory of the Architecture, ETH Zurich