Light/Play

Dissertation for the Ph.D. in German Literature & Culture / Visual Studies at Penn State (defended March 2023)

The intersection of art and technology since the 20th century has necessitated a rethinking of aesthetics, spectatorship, and the purpose of art itself as a medium of illumination.  My dissertation, tentatively entitled Light/Play: Art, Vision, and Futures since 1920, examines the multifaceted revolutions and futures envisioned by artists working with light-based media from the Bauhaus to the postwar period to today.

My artistic interlocutors include László Moholy-Nagy, Otto Piene, Heinz Mack, Peter Kubelka, Valie EXPORT, Mara Mattuschka, Hito Steyerl, Anne-Marie Schleiner, Joanna Zylinska, and Total Refusal. As I explore the changing conditions and consequences of visibility from the early 20th century to today, I draw on a variety of thinkers, including Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Akira Mizuta Lippit, Ariella Azoulay, Paul Virilio, Jonathan Crary, and Donna Haraway, to name just a few.  My research also relies on archival documents, exhibition catalogues, artist statements, and artworks themselves.