Prof. Robin Curtis’ talk will offer a reconsideration of the term "immersion," which has long been linked to experiences made possible through technologies of virtual and augmented reality.

"Chaos and Order" (Rocco Helmchen, 2012)
"Chaos and Order" (Rocco Helmchen, 2012)

Deutsches Haus at NYU – 42 Washington Mews, New York, N.Y. – will present a talk by its DAAD visiting scholar, Professor Robin Curtis, on "Immersion and Abstraction" on Friday, September 9, at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. If you would like to attend this event, please send us an email to deutscheshaus.rsvp@nyu.edu. Space at Deutsches Haus is limited; please arrive ten minutes prior to the event. For more information, call 212.998.8660.

Professor Curtis’ talk will offer a reconsideration of the term immersion, which has long been linked first and foremost to experiences made possible through technologies of virtual and augmented reality. Her research has made a case for a more nuanced understanding of immersive experience, beyond the parameters of representational realism or simulation that commonly are believed to define immersion, towards an understanding of the manner in which abstraction can also invite immersive engagement, highlighting other processes at work that may be at the root of immersive experience but were heretofore neglected. While the talk will offer an overview of strategies of filmic immersion from 1895 onwards, a closer examination of two films that examine the human experience and understanding of space, Powers of Ten (Charles and Ray Eames, 1977) and Chaos & Order (Rocco Helmchen, 2012, made for the full dome projection of the planetarium), will map out two distinct strategies for visceral understanding that operate within contemporary media. For while immersion is most immediately associated with entertainment media (and thus, typically, distraction) its potential for the type of sudden insight implied by the German term Erkenntnis is often underestimated, particularly since it is often thought of as the polar opposite to the experience of contemplation, a perspective that has otherwise become the norm of late within German scholarship on immersion.

Robin Curtis is Professor of Theory and Practice of Audio-visual Media in the Media and Cultural Studies Department at the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf. Born in Toronto, and based since 1989 in Berlin (and since 2012 in Düsseldorf) she has been a filmmaker (Nachlass, 1992), curator (e.g. Special Programme “Out of Time” Oberhausen 2001, Werkleitz Biennale, 2002, Goethe-Institut Tour “Geschlecht-Konfliktbewältigung” Israel/Palestine 2003), and Film and Media Scholar. She completed an honours BA at the University of Toronto followed by an MA and PhD at the Freie Universität in Berlin. Between 2008 and 2011, she was a Feodor-Lynen Fellow, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at SUNY Buffalo, NY. She is on the editorial boards of the journals Pop. Kultur und Kritik (Transcript) and the Jahrbuch immersiver Medien (Schüren) and is the author of Conscientious Viscerality: The Autobiographical Stance in German Film and Video (2006) and the co-editor of the following collections: The Autobiographical Turn in Germanophone Documentary and Experimental Film Eds. Robin Curtis and Angelica Fenner (2014); Synchronisierung der Künste. [Synchronizing the Arts] Eds. Robin Curtis Gertrud Koch, Marc Siegel, (2013); Synästhesie-Effekte: zur Intermodalität der ästhetischen Wahrnehmung. [Synaesthetic Effects: The
Intermodality of Aesthetic Experience] Eds. Robin Curtis, Marc Glöde and Gertrud Koch (2010); Einfühlung – Zu Geschichte und Gegenwart eines ästhetischen Konzepts. [From Einfühlung to Empathy: The History and Contemporary Career of an Aesthetic Concept] Eds. Robin Curtis and Gertrud Koch (2008). Robin Curtis has published numerous essays in the fields of media theory, affect, the filmic avant-garde, medial autobiography and self portrait, the history of German film and video. She is currently completing a monograph entitled Immersion as Abstraction: The Moving Image and Abandon that considers the ways in which immersion is a historically specific term that has often pertained to forms of media experience that depart quite radically from realism or naturalism.

Immersion and Abstraction is a DAAD-sponsored event.

 

 

Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337