Fellows & Projects

Azadeh Fatehrad

Dr. Azadeh Fatehrad is an artist and curator based in London. Fatehrad’s research, artistic and curatorial practice are intertwined around a process of gathering information and generating new imagery in response to archival material she discovers. Her interdisciplinary research overlaps discourses such as political science, sociology, representation, photography and architecture, as well as cultural studies. Her practice ranges from still and moving images to fictional stories, short films and artist books which have been exhibited internationally at the Royal Academy of Art (London), Somerset House (London), Weltkulturen Museum (Frankfurt am Main), Index: The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation (Stockholm), Lychee One Gallery (London) and The Barn Gallery (Oxford), among others. Fatehrad has received her practice-based PhD from the Royal College of Art (2016) and has conducted diverse projects across Europe and the Middle East, including at the Warburg Institute in London (Iconography: The Representation of Hand Gestures), Archiv für Forschung und Dokumentation Iran (AFDI) in Berlin (National Unity of Women’s Associations), the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam (Sediqeh Dowlatabadi’s Archive), and the Feminist Library in London (Adventures in the Archives); Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main (Scharf Belichted – Objects of Desire in an Ethnographic Collection) and the Institute for Iranian Contemporary Historical Studies (IICHS) in Tehran. Fatehrad’s recent publications including „Sohrab Shahid Saless-Exile: Displacement and the Stateless Moving Image“ (2020) by Edinburgh University Press, UK and „The Poetics and Politics of the Veil in Iran: An Archival and Photographic Adventure“ (2019) by Chicago University Press. Her projects have been positively covered by the likes of the New York Times, Financial Times, CNN, Euronews, Guardian, and British Journal of Photography, among others. Fatehrad is co-founder of „Herstoriographies: The Feminist Media Archive Research Network“ in London and she is on the editorial board for the peer reviewed journal MAI: Feminism & Visual Culture in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Petr Gibas

Petr Gibas is an anthropologist and cultural geographer based at the Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences. His scholarly interest covers issues of home and its relationship to housing, material culture studies of home, and  phenomenological and landscape geography. In all these spheres, he pursues explorations into the intersection of policy and planning, experience and emotionality, and more-than-human entanglements. He is a co-author of books in English – Non-humans in Social Science: Animals, Spaces, Things (2011), Non-humans in Social Sciences: Ontologies, Theories and Case Studies (2014), Nonhumans and after in social science (2016) –, and in Czech – Allotment Gardens: Shadow of the Past or a Glimpse of the Future? (2013), DIY: a fine mosaic of self-led making (2019), Bricolage: From “self-led manual projects” to DIY (2020) –, and numerous articles.

At KWI, he will devote his time to a project titled Post-anthropocentric landscape: reflections on/of de-industrialization during which he will finalize a manuscript based on a long-term research of post-socialist (post)industrial spaces. The aim of the project is to chart paths towards a novel understanding of post-anthropocentric landscape at the intersection of cultural studies, anthropology and geography. The final chapter of the manuscript, to be written at the KWI, is to draw inspiration from recent developments in post-humanism, new materialism and their reflection on and in contemporary art and to inquire into what happens over time to and in post-anthropocentric landscape, both real and artistically and scholarly represented.

Regina Karl

Regina Karl is Assistant Professor of German Studies and Cinema Studies at Rutgers University. She received her PhD from Yale University. In her research, media ecology, the history of technology, and psychoanalysis build the comprehensive framework for understanding the interplay and impact of twentieth century and contemporary literature and film.

Her current book project reassesses technological reproducibility based on a sweeping emergence of hands in German and French literature, photography, and film after the turn of the century. She has co-edited several volumes in the series Unbedingte Universitäten (diaphanes 2010) and serves on the editorial board of RISS. Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse. Amongst more recent publications is an essay on the question of technology in Paul Valéry and Walter Benjamin included in Entwendungen. Walter Benjamin und seine Quellen (Paderborn: Fink, 2019), as well as her article “Technological reproduction at odds: Hand and cinematography in Robert Wiene’s The Hands of Orlac” (Cinéma&Cie, vol. XXI, no. 35, 2020).

As a Thyssen fellow at KWI, Regina will work on her book manuscript “Manipulations. The Hand as Symbol and Symptom in the Arts after 1900,” examining the manifold ways in which the hand emerges in literature and the visual arts in early modernism. It does so by dint of German and French case studies addressing literature, sculpture, photography, film, and industrial design. More than a motif, or a dominant theme, the hands of this period reflect the parameters of modern technology and industry. Due to its dual nature, operating between fragment and entity, vitality and instrumentality, intelligibility and sensibility, the hand both embodies and challenges key notions of aesthetics: namely, to what extent the production of art requires the work of hands and, vice versa, in what ways an artwork enables a tactile understanding of the world. Foregrounding the hand’s dyadic status of working and experiencing allows a deeper understanding of the sensorial aftermath of urbanization and industrialization between 1910 and 1930. For her chapter on Germaine Krull, Regina is looking forward to perusing the artist´s photographic collection at the Folkwang Museum, Essen.

In addition, Regina is currently developing a second research project engaging with the socio-political implications of contemporary European cinema and literature. Tentatively titled “Clash of Images: On the Contemporariness of Iconoclasm,” this project proposes a discourse analysis of recent phenomena of iconoclashes (Bruno Latour). Further to art’s dominantly representative function, one observes a backlash in debates about inclusion and diversity, present in such phenomena as “cancel culture,” “shitstorms,” or “viral images.” Investigating the double bind between social critique and freedom of expression, Regina seeks to examine the symbolic foundations of identity politics and community-building today.