TRAUMA AND CONTEMPORARY ART

Ph.D., Institute of Theatre Studies, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin

The study "Let them haunt us. Trauma and Contemporary Art. Case Studies in the Aesthetic Practices of Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Omer Fast, Forensic Architecture and Paul McCarthy." argues for the necessity of contemporary aesthetic practices that engage in global conditions of trauma, making the case that exhibitions and the aesthetic realm provide a potential forum for facilitating understanding of current conflicts, their humanitarian consequences and a critical reflection of their rising presence in image culture. Up until the present day, representations of individual and collective traumata dominantly continue to be defined within an ethical dogma as failed, impossible or deemed as morally inappropriate and historically inaccurate as a result of influential theories stemming primarily from early psychoanalysis, postmodern aesthetic theory and Holocaust studies. In an attempt to relieve the trauma paradigm from its traditional canon and aesthetic practices from their mimetic and historical function, the study proposes to consider representations as a part of reality, enabling a staged and performative encounter with trauma within the aesthetic framework. The dissertation was funded by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes and will be published by transcript in April 2020.




“Trauma as an Aesthetic Strategy” at the conference “Narratives of War”, Huizinga Institute, University of Amsterdam
, 24 - 26 February 2016

Architecture as Frame for Trauma: Video Installations by Paul McCarthy, in: Performance Research; Mick Wallis und Patrick Duggan (Hg.) On Trauma, London: Routledge Journals, Taylor and Francis Ltd., 2011, S.153-163.