2015, Sun, Jun 21

Masks of the Human. Notes on Pierre Huyghe and other Primates

Guided tour with expert Hanna Engelmeier

Pierre Huyghe, Untitled (Human Mask), 2014 film still | Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Hauser & Wirth, London; Esther Schipper, Berlin; Anna Lena Films, Paris.

Pierre Huyghe, Untitled (Human Mask), 2014 film still | Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Hauser & Wirth, London; Esther Schipper, Berlin; Anna Lena Films, Paris.

Hanna Engelmeier is a research assistant at the Institute of Media Studies at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and is the coordinator of the DFG researchers’ group on Media and Mimesis. She has published a number of academic articles on her research fields of historic anthropology, animal studies, media anthropology and mimesis. She also writes for magazines such as the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, fluter and the Merkur - Zeitschrift für europäisches Denken.

In her dissertation, which will be published in autumn 2015 under the title “Humans, Apes: Anthropology and Darwinian Reception in Germany 1850-1900,” the cultural scholar examines the development of German anthropology based on the debates conducted concerning the relationship between humans and apes. By linking this to 19th century evolutionary biology, the interrelationship between literary narrative, iconography and natural sciences becomes the setting for an anthropology that cannot do without the apes: knowledge about humanity only becomes a valid narrative through knowledge of apes. The manifold and sometimes contradictory ways that apes bring together aesthetics, art and natural sciences as a central figure to allow us to speak of “humans” are the core of Engelmeier’s access to the subject matter.