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Dr. phil. in art. Benno Hinkes

The Aisthetics of (Built) Human Environments – On the Foundations of an Artistic and Theoretical Research

Supervisors: Prof. Michael Lingner
Thesis defence on 5th July, 2016
Dissertation: 2008–2014 Goldsmiths, University of London/HFBK Hamburg
Publication: transcript-Verlag, spring 2017

My artistic and theoretical – or rather artistic-theoretical – research deals with the question of an everyday perception of (built) environments. How do we experience our surrounding when sitting in a room, walking down a lane or driving down the street? How do we synaesthetically perceive (i.e. by more than one sense modality) rooms, buildings, streets, parks, urban plazas, cities, landscapes? What role does the body play in this context? How, by what mechanisms, does the perceivable surrounding effect us via our perceiving physicality? And in what way can the perceiver and the perceived not be described as two isolated entities, as an isolated subject, facing an isolated object, but as interlinked with each other within the act of perceiving?
In order to answer these questions, my research takes a closer look at both, philosophic and artistic positions – or more precisely: at a phenomenologically informed study of perception and at contemporary installation art, not understood in terms of a field that produces 'works of art', but understood as a research area, empirically examining environments. Key points of reference are, on the side of art: Bruce Nauman, Ilya Kabakov, Rachel Whiteread, Dan Graham, Siah Armajani (a.o.); on the side of philosophy: contemporary approaches from the field of everyday aesthetics/ environmental aesthetics, such as Arnold Berleant and Gernot Böhme, as well as classical approaches: Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Dewey, Wittgenstein, (a.o.).

Vita (short version):

Benno Hinkes is a Berlin based installation artist and theorist. He has worked, researched and taught at various places in Germany and abroad: In 2007 he was invited as Visiting Artist to the Visual Arts Department of Columbia University, New York. From 2008–2014 he was member of the artistic research-programs of the Academy of Fine Arts, Hamburg and Goldsmiths
College/University of London. Solo exhibitions and participation in group exhibitions in: Germany, Czech Republic, GB, USA, Benin.

Awards (selection):

His work received various awards, such as: Sächsisches Landesstipendium – Annual Award for Excellence in Arts and Sciences, Arbeitsstipendium des Kulturfond Sachsen – Working Grant of the State of Saxony,  DAAD London-Fellowship, Annual Award of Philip Morris Kulturförderung (a.o.).