GRAZIELE LAUTENSCHLAEGER On what, how and why I have been spending time and energy in this life


Sensing and making sense

Photosensitive matter and the translation of materialities in Media Art

Ongoing PhD research conducted at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schäffner and Prof. Dr. Giselle Beiguelman


Critical analysis requires complexity, the ability to think beyond simplistic dichotomies. In order to review the dichotomies that usually impoverish the debates and the proposals in the Media Art field – such as material-immaterial, organic and machinic, analogic and digital, theory and practice – we chose an object of analysis that enable their deconstruction. Through the observation and analysis of photosensitive matter in relation to Media Art History, a critical discussion about media art aesthetic practices through its very materiality is developed. Sensitive matter implicates the notion of active matter, a necessary relational perspective of materiality, which is also the fundament of the very notion of ‘media’ and, per extension, of Media Art. The methodology combines a historical and analytical approach, through New Materialism, Media Archaeology, Cultural Techniques and Second-order Cybernetics. The work reviews and inquires into the established paradigms of Media Theory, structuring a thought that integrates theoretical and practical aspects of Media Art production, towards a “material philosophy” or a “philosophical engineering”. For that, a practical project was also developed as part of the investigation method, an aesthetic experiment called Self-portrait of an absence. In the scope of the thesis, among the several possible aspects to be discussed, the experiment sheds light on the notion of translation of materialities, namely between light and sound.

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