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Prof. Dr. Henriette Gunkel

Henriette Gunkel Prof. Dr. Henriette Gunkel
Henriette Gunkel

Short Bio

Henriette Gunkel is professor for the transformation of audiovisual media with a focus on gender and queer theory at the Institute for Media Studies at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany. Her research focuses on the politics of time from a decolonizing and queer-feminist perspective. She is currently working on a monograph titled Alien Time. The book brings together different conceptions of time – from the notion of alien time as introduced by Octavia Butler in her book Kindred as a way of describing the experience of living in the afterlife of slavery to deep geological time as mediated time in the context of the Namibian desert. Her most recent publications include the co-edited volumes Futures & Fictions (Repeater 2017, together with Ayesha Hameed and Simon O’Sullivan) and We Travel the Space Ways: Black Imagination, Fragments, and Diffractions (Transcript 2019, together with kara lynch) as well as the co-authored book Visual Cultures as Time Travel (Sternberg 2021, together with Ayesha Hameed).


Selected Publications

  • Gunkel, H. ‘Codes, Raster, Technologien queerer Erinnerungslandschaften. Charlotte Prodgers SaF05.’ In: A. Deuber-Mankowsky, P. Hanke (eds.) Queeres Kino. Queere Ästhetiken als Dokumentation des Prekären. Berlin: ICI Berlin Press. (in print, forthcoming autumn 2021).
  • Gunkel, H. and N. Mushaandja. ‘Orientations Towards the Here and Now: Care and Presence in the Works of Frida Orupabo and Nkiruka Oparah.’ In: HERE AND NOW at Museum Ludwig. Dynamic Spaces. Ausstellungskatalog Museum Ludwig. Köln: Walther König
  • Gunkel, H. and A. Hameed. Visual Cultures as Time Travel. Berlin: Sternberg Press. 2021.
  • Gunkel, H. and k. lynch (eds.) We Travel the Space Way: Black Imagination, Fragments and Diffraction. Bielefeld: Transcript. 2019.
  • Gunkel, H., A. Hameed and S. O'Sullivan (eds.) Futures & Fictions. London: Repeater. 2017. ISBN: 9781910924631

Henriette Gunkel

Project Description

My research focus during the fellowship will be on the notion of time in relation to the notion of mediated landscapes (S. Nightingale) which I will explore in two chapters of my monograph Alien Time (Oceanic Time and Residence Time of the Desert). The term refers to the relationship between media and landscapes in two ways. One is the way landscape is rendered perceivable or knowable through various imaging technologies. This relates to the ways landscape is located as or recorded by technical media, by sensors, satellites, phones, etc. Two is the way the landscape mediates; this process can lead us to think about landscape as media, one that can sense, imagine and even sonify its own self (J. Parikka; B. Bratton).

In my research I am interested in the ways in which the Namibian landscape, particularly the Namib desert, as a site of extraction and colonial trauma is mediated. Taking as a starting point Elizabeth A. Povinelli’s discussion of the desert as a category of thought, this research explores some of the ways the Namib desert becomes a crucial site to investigate the multiple relations between time, space, life, and non-life. As such I want to explore the desert not only as a metaphor but as a crucial space through which colonial violence took place. Here I am particularly interested in the violence that registered in the context of the genocide, but also in contemporary forms of violence, for example in the context of extraction and accumulation, as performed in the mining industry. One of the key questions is how can we bear witness to that violence?

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