Mi / 10:00 – 11:30

Manipulations: Hands at Work in European Modernism

Regina Karl, Thyssen@KWI Fellow

Online (Zoom)

Oscillating between vitality and instrumentality, the hand both embodies and challenges key notions of aesthetics: To what extent does the production of art require the work of hands? And, vice versa, to what extent does an artwork enable a tactile understanding of the world? At the beginning of the twentieth century, the importance of the hand goes beyond the simple gesture they perform: hands become an agent, holding at bay technological progress and its implications for artistic creation. Regina´s current book project Manipulations. Hands at Work in European Modernism reassesses the manifold ways in which the hand emerges in literature and the visual arts in early modernism: She intends to show how the hand revises the genealogy of modern media, which are no longer defined as pure technological innovation. Instead, they are deeply informed by the human body as the primary tool for creating a work of art. The book looks at German and French case studies that address literature, sculpture, photography, film, and industrial design. In her upcoming presentation, Regina will focus in particular on the appearance of the hand in photography and film.

The ColloKWIum provides a platform to present and discuss ongoing as well as emerging research projects. In addition to addressing projects within KWI – including the work of our new fellows – it is open to guest lectures that tie in with the institute’s research agenda.