MIMESIS Munich Doctoral Program for Literature and the Arts

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Teilstück 2.2kleiner            On a Mimetic Form

6th Conference of the IDP Mimesis
4th – 6th July 2019, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte Munich and LMU Munich

Masks are an integral part of human culture. They have been a vital element of theatrical practices since antiquity and have always played a crucial role in ritual as well as artistic and literary activities throughout the world. Their innate tension springs from their capacity to both show and conceal as well as to imitate and create, thus displaying a structural analogy to the workings of mimesis. Masks have the ability to generate an oscillation between truth and illusion, an interplay between identity, difference and appropriation. In recent years, various artists, performers and political activists have been attracted to the object of the mask and have updated the powerful act of un/masking for our times.

This international and interdisciplinary conference brings together papers from various fields within the humanities. It seeks to connect diverging theories and methods in order to open new perspectives on numerous manifestations of the mask, ranging from Baroque theater and turn-of-the-century cabaret to modern facial recognition, from shamanistic practices to 18th-century aesthetics and digital art. In addition to addressing questions of identity in postcolonial societies and the usage of masks in political movements, the conference will also highlight figures of the mask in fashion, music, literature and 20th-century avantgardes. Reflecting acts of un/masking in a diverse range of artistic media and a broad spectrum of contexts, this conference encourages theoretical reflection on its ambiguity and mimetic practices.

Conference Program 

**Change of Program: Laurette Burgholzer and Barbara Vinken had to cancel their participation. Instead of her talk on Friday, 5th July at 4:15 pm we will have Marc Adamczack’s guided tour of the conference venue, the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, which was originally scheduled to take place during lunch break.**


Thursday, 4th July 2019

LMU, Luisenstraße 37, Room C106

4:00 pm Registration (for Speakers only)

4:30 pm TOBIAS DÖRING (IDP Mimesis)
Welcoming Address

Un/Masking: On a Mimetic Form

PANEL 1 - REVEALING MASKS (Chair: Joana Mylek)
5:15 pm AGNES HOFFMANN (University of Basel)
Schminck und Schein: The Art and Power of Unmasking in German Baroque Drama

6:00 pm CHRISTIANE LEWE (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar)
Surface and Depth: The Revival of Physiognomy in Deep Learning

6:45 pm Break

7:00 pm Keynote Address
BERNHARD SIEGERT (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar)
Switching Perspectives: The Operative Ontology of the Transformation Masks of the American Northwest Coast
Chair: Sebastian Althoff



Friday, 5th July, 2019

Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Katharina-von-Bora-Straße 10, Room 242

9:00 am ULRICH PFISTERER (Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte Munich)
Welcoming Address

9:15 am Keynote Address
JOYCE CHENG (University of Oregon)
The Surrealists on Style: Toward a Theory of Expression as Masquerade
Chair: Antonia Stichnoth

10:30 am Coffee Break

PANEL 2 - UN/MASKING POLITICS (Chair: Simon Gröger)
11:00 am TIM BEASLEY-MURRAY (University College London)
Against Politics as Self-Disclosure and Inclusion: The Anti-Politics of Masking

11:45 am SARAH HEGENBART (TU Munich)
Redressing History in South Africa: Sethembile Msezane and Mary Sibande and their Masking of the Black Body

12:30 am VITA PEACOCK (University of Cambridge)
Masks and Initiatory Transformation in Anonymous

1:15 pm Lunch Break
** Change of Program: The Guided Tour of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte by MARC ADAMCZACK (IDP Mimesis) has been postponed to 4:15 pm.**

PANEL 3 - UN/HUMAN (Chair: Babylonia Constantinides)
2:45 pm CAROLIN BOHN (TU Braunschweig)
Somewhere between Realities: Structures of Un/masking in German 18th-century Aesthetics

3:30 pm BETHAN HUGHES (University of Leeds)
Corpsing: CGI as Grotesque Realism in the Work of Ed Atkins

4:15 pm LAURETTE BURGHOLZER (University of Bern)
Neutral Masks, Significant Bodies: Heritage, Exoticism and Depersonalization in Actors’ Training in France in the Early 20th Century

** Change of Program: We regret to inform you, that this paper had been canceled. Instead, we will have the Guided Tour of Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte by MARC ADAMCZACK (IDP MIMESIS). Meeting Point: Atrium by the Entrance.**

5:00 pm Coffee Break

5:30 pm Keynote Address
W. ANTHONY SHEPPARD (Williams College, MA)
Morality and Meaning in Vocal Masking
Chair: Johanna Spangenberg


Saturday, 6th July, 2019

Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Katharina-von-Bora-Straße 10, Room 242

9:00 am ELISA LEROY (IDP Mimesis)
‘Such a questionable shape’: Un/masking the Ghost as Actor and Author in Hamlet

9:45 am ELEONORE ZAPF (University of Innsbruck)
Thoughts Becoming Persons: Fernando Pessoa’s Poetic Carnival

10:30 am JUDITH KEMP (Deutsches Museum Munich)
‘Wüstes Farbengetändel’: Peter Altenberg’s ‘Masken’ in ‘Cabaret Fledermaus’

11:15 am Coffee and Snacks
ANJA WÄCHTER (IDP Mimesis): Guided Tour of the Photographs of Stefan Moses: Creative Incognito – Stefan Moses' Artists Behind Masks. Meeting Point: Library Entrance, 1st Floor.

12:15 pm Keynote Address
Un ballo in maschera
Chair: Anna Baccanti



Concluding Remarks


For further information, please also visit:


Conference Organization:

Sebastian Althoff
Anna Baccanti
Johanna Spangenberg
Antonia Stichnoth