Project Researchers

Nina Samuel

© Nina Samuel

I studied Art History and Cultural Sciences in Berlin and Paris, and received my doctorate at the intersection of Art History and History of Science dealing with “The Shape of Chaos: Image and Knowledge in Complex Dynamics and in Fractal Geometry”. I have received scholarships and research grants from the Fulbright Program, eikones Basel, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

My research in the area of image theory and the history of technical and digital images focuses on visual epistemologies, on the materialization of thought processes (with a focus on drawing in art and science), on visual practices in biology (especially on localization microscopy), and on medical imaging practices (especially on the visual history of hand surgery).

My second core area is curation and museum theory. As program director of the museum centered PhD program “PriMus – Promovieren im Museum” (PriMus – PhD in Museums) at Leuphana University Lüneburg, I have been working on the history and theory of collecting and exhibiting, on narrative forms and spatial reasoning in exhibitions, on the paradoxical relation of museums and the ‘transcultural nation state’, on exhibition concepts at the interface of art and science, and on strategies how to anchor the spatial and material thinking of museum practitioners in the academic curriculum.

My curatorial projects are closely linked to my academic research. My exhibition “The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality of Thinking” at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City built on my thesis and combined critical discourses of art history with questions of philosophy of science. In “My Brain Is in My Inkstand: Drawing as Thinking and Process” that I curated for the Cranbrook Art Museum in Michigan, I explored drawing as a thinking process connecting the sciences, contemporary art, and design.

At “Matters of Activity”, my two main research axes come together and form a new synthesis in my current project on a material epistemology of the museum. As part of the research group “Object Space Agency”, I am writing my habilitation on knowledge practices in the museum, taking especially into account conservation and restauration. The project is based on the assumption that handling different kinds of matter is part of the material knowledge of the museum. Materials and practices will be juxtaposed and contrasted in their diversity, so a new concept of material in the museum space can be defined.