MIMESIS Munich Doctoral Program for Literature and the Arts

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Change Through Repetition

Mimesis as a Transformative Principle Between Art and Politics

5th Conference of the IDP Mimesis
at the Center for Advanced Studies of LMU Munich, November 29 – Dezember 01,


The cultural technique of mimesis operates in the realm of the aesthetical as well as in the realm of the political. But there do these forces superimpose each other in such a way, that mimetic works of art become a trigger, participant in or vehicle for political and social transformation? The International Conference Change Through Repetition proposes to investigate aesthetic and cultural phenomena that effect change in the non-aesthetical realm, not so much in spite, but precisely because of their being mere repetitions, representations, reproductions, epictions, or reenactments of another. Thus, for instance, Milo Rauʼs theatrical show trial The Congo Tribunal, which resulted in the abdication of corrupt politicians in the Congo province of Sud-Kivu, illustrates the impact of mimesis on political reality. The goal of the conference is to conceptualize mimetic structures of aesthetic and cultural phenomena in their varying ways of articulation as well as to highlight and to analyze their concrete historical or contemporary influence on political and social processes of change in a transcultural perspective. We invite researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to join us in approaching the paradox of change through repetition at the intersection of the arts and politics. Possible points of departure could be the following questions: What functions do mimetic aesthetic and cultural phenomena adopt in processes of social change? In what relation do genres such as the political cartoon, the mirror for princes or the reenactment stand to historical moments of revolution or emancipatory movements? What relation does, for example, the development of a secular modern Hebrew literary language in central and western metropoles of Europe around 1880 entertain with the creation of a future Israeli national language? What political significance do aesthetic practices of appropriation have? How do mimetic practices, such as those of the Research Institute Forensic Architecture, the Theater HORA, Romeo Castellucci or Yael Ronen, address regimes of visibility, how do they make the marginalized visible? How can practices such as overidentification and propaganda, which (ostensibly) affirm regimes of visibility, be understood? How do commemorative cultures and practices of documentation interrelate? How is historical reality produced through mimesis with a view to an imaginary political future? Are the establishment of fictional states or utopias or artistic works in progress such as, for example, those of Arabic futurism or Afrofuturism accompanied by an intention of materialization of such a future at all?


Conference organization:

Babylonia Constantinides

Simon Gröger

Elisa Leroy 

Doris Rebhan

Christian H. Steinau

Sarah Stoll


For more information and fotos of the conference visit our Twitter: @IDPMimesis and Instagram account: idk_mimesis

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