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Neo-avantgarde as a Model for Research and Teaching

Cooperation between Black Mountain at Freie Universität and Hamburger Bahnhof Museum to Begin May 2 / Public Workshop at Freie Universität on May 3

№ 127/2014 from Apr 17, 2014

Beginning in May 2014, the Dahlem Humanities Center (DHC), the Department of Philosophy and Humanities, and the Institute of Computer Science, all based at Freie Universität Berlin, will be cooperating with the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum of Contemporary Art to present various events and exhibitions, organize workshops and conferences, and issue digital publications. The Black Mountain – Teaching and Learning as Performative Arts project is dedicated to the American school of arts called Black Mountain College that had a short but influential existence from 1933 to 1956 in North Carolina. The new Black Mountain project aims to analyze the innovative and creative teaching at the college, which had a profound influence on the creative avant-garde of the 20th century, and to apply what is learned as a model for today’s creative and organizational processes. Methodologically the project fits in the relatively new field of digital humanities. Research results from the planned three-year collaboration between Freie Universität and the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum will be made available to the public via the website as well as in an exhibition in the spring of 2015. Representatives of the media are invited to visit the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum on May 2, when there will also be a guided tour through the sound installation. On May 3 there will be a public workshop at Freie Universität. No admission fees.

During the period of the Great Depression as well as during and after World War II, Black Mountain College in North Carolina developed into one of the leading art schools of the 20th century in the United States. As an educational institution, the college revolutionized major areas of artistic training and taught art, theater, music, literature, architecture, physics, and history using an interdisciplinary approach. Leading artists and scholars including Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, and Albert Einstein taught and studied at Black Mountain College. The experimental artistic research and the interdisciplinary approach continue to influence the organizational structures of universities, art schools, and cultural institutions.

The cooperation between Freie Universität Berlin (the Department of Philosophy and Humanities and the Institute of Computer Science), Dahlem Humanities Center, and Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart Berlin focuses on the genesis, the discourses, and the practices of Black Mountain College. Under the direction of Professor Eugen Blume, the director of the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart Berlin, these aspects will be presented in an exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum. A team composed of researchers, curators, artists, and students is currently involved in designing the study and compiling the results for documentation and presentation in different formats. The website aims to document the processes of the cooperative project and will provide access to research essays, information about the exhibition and the symposia, as well as images and documents from the North Carolina Digital Archive, among others.

Founded in 2007, the Dahlem Humanities Center builds on the most complete range of disciplines in the humanities to be found in Germany. In order to focus this wealth of departments and activities, it provides an overarching, interdisciplinary research framework. Aiming to make a significant contribution to a comprehensive theory of cultural dynamics, it works closely with non-university research and cultural institutions in the Berlin-Brandenburg region. Its cooperation with humanities centers at leading American and European universities promises to generate important new impulses for humanities research in Berlin.

Time, Location, and Registration

  • Opening event for representatives of the media: Friday, May 2, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
    Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, Invalidenstraße 50-51, 10557 Berlin
  • Public Workshop: Saturday, May 3, 2014, 9:30 a.m.
    Seminar Center, Freie Universität Berlin, Silberlaube, Room L 115, Otto-von-Simson-Straße 26, 14195 Berlin-Dahlem; subway station: Thielplatz or Dahlem-Dorf (U3)
  • Due to limited seating, we kindly ask you to RSVP by April 24, 2014, to:
  • All the events of the Black Mountain project will be held in English.

Further Information

  • Prof. Dr. Annette Jael Lehmann, Institute of Theater Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-50329, Email:
  • Katja Heinrich, Dahlem Humanities Center, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-55057, Email:

Links to the Website and Workshop Program