Bernd Herzogenrath Former Senior Fellow

Bernd Herzogenrath
October 2017 - March 2018


Bernd Herzogenrath is a professor of American Studies at Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main. His fields of interest include Film Studies, Sound Studies, and Media Philosophy. He is the author of An Art of Desire: Reading Paul Auster, and An American Body|Politic: A Deleuzian Approach, and the editor of various books on Tod Browning, Edgar G. Ulmer, John Luther Adams, Deleuze & Ecology, Time and History in Deleuze &Serres, etc. Together with Patricia Pisters, he is the editor of the book series thinking|media (Bloomsbury).

Dated from 2018

Fields of research

Film Studies
Sound Studies
Media Philosophy

IKKM Research Project

surface tension: medium|texture|fabric

This project aims at opening trajectories for a specifically materialist approach to the media thinking practices of film, music and literature. It wants to work with the media-philosophical approaches in the area of film, to extend those approaches to the context of American Studies and try and see how this way of thinking media could be transferred to other media such as literature and sound art. In order to trace the material dynamics of media, the technological carriers in question, their respective textures and fabrics and how they influence the medium’s “content” will be the object of this study. This project wants to trace these oscillations between materiality and information and, while focusing on the technological media carriers, to find exemplary methods for a Media Philosophy in sound and literature that also points to a certain materiality of these practices beyond their merely technological condition. As a starting point, the methodological insights gained in film philosophy will be used to expand theory and practice to the work of Stan Brakhage, Ken Jacobs and Bill Morrison. William Basinski, Thomas Köner, Stephan Mathieu and Oval would make the case for a “material-carrier-based” sound art, and in the field of literature, the media-specific works and artists’s books of Anne Carson, Jonathan Safran Foer, Tom Phillips and Keith A. Smith will be subject of analysis. What all these “objects of study” have in common is their focus on the materiality of the medial carrier—the film strip/celluloid in Brakhage’s, Jacobs’ and Morrison’s work, the vinyl record, tape, and CD in the works of Köner, Mathieu, Basinski and Oval, and the book in Nox (Anne Carson), Tree of Codes (Jonathan Safran Foer) and the genre of the “artist book,” in particular the work of Tom Phillips (The Humument) and Keith A. Smith (200 Books). In all of these instances—but in different ways—the “representation” (composition, narrative of the film or book) enters into a close contact with the material|medial carrier itself, insofar that exactly the material constitution of the medium itself not only becomes visible, but generates the composition/narrative in the first place. Thus, the concept of “medial representation” gives way to an idea of “medial expression” so that informed matter and material information continually fold into each other.

Recent publications

edited collections
sonic thinking. Ed. Bernd Herzogenrath. New York/London: Bloomsbury, 2017.
Film as Philosophy. Ed. Bernd Herzogenrath. Minneapolis/London: U of Minnesota P, 2017.