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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Excellence Initiative

Image Knowledge Gestaltung. An Interdisciplinary Laboratory

Images are an integral part of our world – we encounter them everywhere. All sciences and academic disciplines today use images and structures to deepen our understanding of both visible and invisible aspects of our world. This has opened up an entirely new field for art historians at Humboldt-Universität, the interdisciplinary field of image research. Similarly, scholars of cultural history and theory are studying structures of knowledge that are key in shaping the structural processes in academic and scientific disciplines.

Serving as a point of departure for the Cluster project is a joint initiative launched by the Department of Art and Visual History and the Department of Cultural History and Theory at HU with the aim of establishing an interdisciplinary research area under the name Image Knowledge Gestaltung focusing on the creative power of imaging methods and knowledge structures.

This new interrelationship is to be systematically investigated in several research fields by correlating the different approaches and strategies of the humanities, natural sciences and engineering sciences which are usually employed separately or even regarded as mutually exclusive. The goal is to complement the traditional division into special disciplines – a differentiation that is certainly unavoidable and will continue to be upheld in the future  – with a common structure for interaction and communication. By establishing an interdisciplinary laboratory as a joint operational base for 20 disciplines, the university is taking a step unprecedented in its over 200-year history – one that will decisively change its knowledge structure.

The scholars and scientists participating in the project come from a wide range of institutions: Humboldt-Universität, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin University of the Arts, the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the Ibero-American Institute, the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Berlin Weissensee School of Art, the Museum für Naturkunde (Natural History Museum), the Art Library, Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, and the Center for Literary and Cultural Research.