New Professor of Art History: Katja Kwastek

16 Aug

51E5E2wAUEL-1 The new semester is about to begin, and we are delighted to welcome Katja Kwastek as VU University’s new professor of art history and member of the VAMA team! In both her teaching and her research, Katja Kwastek  focuses on art from the 1960s to the present, with a focus on intersections of art and technology and new media.

September not only marks her debut as VU professor, but also the publication of her book Aesthetics of Interaction in Digital Art (MIT Press):

“Since the 1960s, artworks that involve the participation of the spectator have received extensive scholarly attention. Yet interactive artworks using digital media still present a challenge for academic art history. In this book, Katja Kwastek argues that the particular aesthetic experience enabled by these new media works can open up new perspectives for our understanding of art and media alike. Kwastek, herself an art historian, offers a set of theoretical and methodological tools that are suitable for understanding and analyzing not only new media art but also other contemporary art forms. Addressing both the theoretician and the practitioner, Kwastek provides an introduction to the history and the terminology of interactive art, a theory of the aesthetics of interaction, and exemplary case studies of interactive media art.

Kwastek lays the historical and theoretical groundwork with discussions of processual strategies of twentieth-century art and theories of aesthetic experience, process aesthetics, play, and performance. She then develops an aesthetics of interaction, discussing such aspects as real space and data space, temporal structures, instrumental and phenomenal perspectives, and the relationship between materiality and interpretability. Finally, she applies her theory to specific works of interactive media art, including narratives in virtual and real space, interactive installations, and performance — with case studies of works by Olia Lialina, Susanne Berkenheger, Stefan Schemat, Teri Rueb, Lynn Hershman, Agnes Hegedüs, Tmema, David Rokeby, Sonia Cillari, and Blast Theory.”

In the first semester, Katja Kwastek will be teaching a seminar on artist Robert Morris. Also on offer are the course “Reading Concepts of Intermediality” with Sven Lütticken and Ginette Verstraete, and a seminar on architecture and mobility with Anna Nikolaeva. Mobility will become something of a Leitmotif, as in the second semester Ginette Verstraete will dedicate the biannual VAMA course “Critical Issues in the Cultural Industries” to issues of space, place and mobility in a globalized and digitized world.

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