MIMESIS Munich Doctoral Program for Literature and the Arts

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Theories of the Mimetic

Symposium of the IDP MIMESIS

27 - 29 July 2017
Kloster Seeon

Animal Mimesis
Intersections of Aesthetics and Anthropology

Symposium of the Munich Doctoral Program for Literature and the Arts MIMESIS
30 June and 1 July 2016
Seidlvilla, Munich

Animal Music - A Zoological Piano Recital with Tobias Koch
30 June 2016, 20:00
Seidlvilla, Munich

The difference between man and animal plays a crucial role in Western philosophy. As early as in Aristotle's Poetics, this distinction is bound up with issues of mimesis. Aristotle considers mimesis as a property that distinguishes man from other animals, but also defines the human susceptibility to imitation as the basis of the production of art. Ever since, anthropological and aesthetic concepts have tended to overlap when it comes to mimesis. In the tradition of philosophy and aesthetics, however, thinkers have alternated in attributing mimesis to humans and animals. Instead of being an intellectual capacity in the Aristotelian sense, mimetic processes can also be conceptualized as mere reproduction. This 'low' kind of mimesis has often been compared to imitative animal behavior. Covering such aspects as animals as metaphors of imitation as well as the subversive potential of animal mimesis, this conference will explore the outstanding, yet often unrecognized importance of the theory of mimesis for the dynamic field of Human-Animal Studies, and vice versa.


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Faking, Forging, Counterfeiting
Discredited Practices at the Margins of Mimesis

Conference of the Munich Doctoral Program for Literature and the Arts MIMESIS
29-31 October 2015
CAS – Centre for Advanced Studies, LMU Munich

Fakes, forgeries and counterfeits are omnipresent as works of art, branded products, biographies, satellite pictures, documents, news, research results, testimonies. They are mimetic practices of unique cultural, economical and political relevance. They alter reality, make history and perform cultural work. As their impact contrasts with their negative connotation, why are they still first and foremost considered as fraud, as deceit, as the shadow of a creative act?
The conference aims to engage an interdisciplinary dialogue on the potential impacts of fakes, involving literature, performance and media studies as well as art history and musicology, with their diverging media and multiple concepts of the original. These practices should be understood as productive mimetic processes and not as morally and legally problematic phenomena. If the so-called original is mimetically constituted, as in the case of art forgery, then faking becomes a phenomenon in the second degree. May that be the fundamental reason for them being discredited? These and similar questions should be discussed with respect to the following research areas:

  1. Faking as a process
  2. Fakes in intercultural contexts
  3. Forgery and related phenomena
  4. Mimetic Surfaces: Reflections on Mirrors in the Arts


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Mimetic Surfaces
Reflections on Mirrors in the Arts

Symposium of the Munich Doctoral Program for Literature and the Arts MIMESIS
14-15 July 2014
Kloster Ettal

Throughout its history, the meaning of the mirror oscillates between production and reproduction, truthfulness and deceit, virtue and sin. In addition to its cultural and technological development, it lends itself to a variety of uses in artistic and aesthetic contexts. The aim of the first IDP Symposium was to investigate different facets of the mirror as an object, as a trope and as a structural principle from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective.


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