The Photographic Dispositif
The PhD Program approaches photography not only from the perspective of the
resulting image, but as a complex act grounded in histo
rical, medial, technological,
social, cultural, and aesthetic specificities, which has at the same time the inherent
potential for the disruption and modification of these very specificities. The formation,
handling, perception, and exhibition of photograp
hy, alongside its discourses, unveil a
complex yet specific power of the image and the gaze that can be effective as a means
of discipline and as creative potential. This “photographic dispositif” is the focus of the
PhD program. It will be scrutinized the
oretically, used in approaches to photographic
practices of the past and present, and developed into an innovative method for
photographic research. The program’s interdisciplinary exchange between Art and
Media Studies, Philosophy and Visual Culture, Fine
Arts and Design offers the perfect
context for the proposed broadening of perspectives which cover the analysis of
specific photographic objects, research on the photographic act and its conditions, and
multifaceted practices of creating, displaying and r
eflecting upon photography.
The program of study consists of four major subject areas. Each one focuses on a
different aspect of the “photographic dispositif” and includes theoretical and practical
The first major subject area is entitled “Writing the Photographic Dispositif”. Its goal is to
define and specify the term “dispositif” as it is used in relationship to photographyThe second subject area focuses on “The Photographic Dispositif as a System of Knowledge”. Visits to photography museums and photographic archives in Germany,
Europe, and internationally will help to analyze specific archival systems complemented
by studying archive theories and the applications of archival approaches in
photographic art.
The third subject area explores “The Photographic Dispositif as a Mode of Presentation”. It examines how displays construe photography as a medium and lend it different meanings.The fourth subject area, “Crossing the Boundaries of the Photographic Dispositif”, monitors the migration of specific characteristics of photography to other media. For further information see