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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.).



Ausstellungsansicht "Schule der Folgenlosigkeit. Übungen für ein anderes Leben" im Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg; photo: Maximilian Schwarzmann

School of No Consequences

Everyone is talking about consequences: The consequences of climate change, the Corona pandemic or digitalization. Friedrich von Borries (professor of design theory), on the other hand, is dedicated to consequence-free design. In “School of No Consequences. Exercises for a New Life” at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, he links collection objects with a "self-learning room" set up especially for the exhibition in such a way that a new perspective on "sustainability" emerges and supposedly universally valid ideas of a "proper life" are questioned.

Annual Exhibition 2021 at the HFBK

Annual exhibition a bit different: From February 12- 14, 2021 students at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts, together with their professors, had developed a variety of presentations on different communication channels. The formats ranged from streamed live performances to video programs, radio broadcasts, a telephone hotline, online conferences, and a web store for editions. In addition, isolated interventions could be discovered in the outdoor space of the HFBK and in the city.

Public Information Day 2021

How do I become an art student? How does the application process work? Can I also study to become a teacher at the HFBK? These and other questions about studying art were answered by professors, students and staff at the HFBK during the Public Information Day on February 13, 2021. In addition, there will be an appointment specifically for English-speaking prospective students on February 23 at 2 pm.

Katja Pilipenko

Semestereröffnung und Hiscox-Preisverleihung 2020

On the evening of November 4, the HFBK celebrated the opening of the academic year 2020/21 as well as the awarding of the Hiscox Art Prize in a livestream - offline with enough distance and yet together online.

photo: Tim Albrecht

Art defies Corona: Graduate Show 2020

With a two-month delay, the Graduate Show took place this year on the 19 and 20 September. More than 140 students showed their artistic graduation projects, from painting to sound installation.

Exhibition Transparencies with works by Elena Crijnen, Annika Faescke, Svenja Frank, Francis Kussatz, Anne Meerpohl, Elisa Nessler, Julia Nordholz, Florentine Pahl, Cristina Rüesch, Janka Schubert, Wiebke Schwarzhans, Rosa Thiemer, Lea van Hall. Organized by Prof. Verena Issel and Fabian Hesse; photo: Screenshot

Teaching Art Online at the HFBK

How the university brings together its artistic interdisciplinary study structure with digital formats and their possibilities.

Alltagsrealität oder Klischee?; photo: Tim Albrecht

HFBK Graduate Survey

Studying art - and what comes next? The clichéd images stand their ground: Those who have studied art either become taxi drivers, work in a bar or marry rich. But only very few people could really live from art – especially in times of global crises. The HFBK Hamburg wanted to know more about this and commissioned the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Hamburg to conduct a broad-based survey of its graduates from the last 15 years.

Ausstellung Social Design, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Teilansicht; photo: MKG Hamburg

How political is Social Design?

Social Design, as its own claim is often formulated, wants to address social grievances and ideally change them. Therefore, it sees itself as critical of society – and at the same time optimizes the existing. So what is the political dimension of Social Design – is it a motor for change or does it contribute to stabilizing and normalizing existing injustices?