4A Laboratory: Art Histories, Archaeologies, Anthropologies, Aesthetics (4A_Lab) is a research and fellowship program designed in cooperation with Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institute and Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz including their museums and research institutions. Other partners are the Forum Transregional Studies and Berlin universities.

Mehrere Personen mit Handschuhen und Masken betrachten textile Objekte im Depot

Visit to the depot of the Ethnologisches Museum © 4A_Lab

The program aims to create a space for dialog between – oftentimes separately operating – institutions and disciplines. In particular, 4A_Lab attempts to create a new dialog between Art History, Archaeology, Anthropology/Ethnology, and Aesthetic Practices (4A), as well as other disciplines concerned with objects, practices, ecologies, and narratives (OPEN). Central to 4A_Lab is a fellowship program which brings excelling international doctoral and postdoctoral researchers to Berlin.

4A_Lab has an interinstitutional, interdisciplinary, and transregional approach and explores transcultural dynamics with regards to aesthetic and material cultures, as well as social practices and representations in museums and elsewhere. The while, it takes up current object research issues testing new liaisons between Social Sciences and the disciplines of the four A. This dialog exceeds geographical and chronological boundaries, nevertheless it will be held in relation to the collections and object constellations of the museums and institutions of Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz. This takes place in cooperation with researchers of the museums and expert representatives of Forum Transregionale Studien, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, as well as other institutions of the international scientific landscape. The dialog of the annually reconstituted group of researchers is structured by an annual theme which are presented and discussed publicly in scientific seminars, conferences, workshops, transregional academies, and small exhibitions.

The focus theme of the first years 2019/20 and 2021/22 was Plants (I/II) and will be continued from 2023-2025 under the title Aesthetics, Art and the Ecology of Plants. Environmental, Social, and Non-Human Perspectives. The program welcomes projects from a wide range of topics relating to plants that place emphasis on aesthetic processes, history of ideas, and material cultures, from the 4A disciplines but also from philosophical or literary studies, in a transregional perspective.

The program, which has existed since October 2019, is a progression and restructuring of the two research and fellowship programs Connecting Art Histories in the Museum (2009–2019) and Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices (2013–2019).

4A_Lab Fellows

Postdoctoral Fellows 2023/24/25

Mahroo Moosavi
The Shaken Tree und Ruined Fruits: Representations of Gardens in the Architectural and Textual Cultures of Safavid Iran

Julieta Pestarino
Botanical Portraits: Native Argentine Plants Photographs between Science and Art

Feng Schöneweiß
The Environmental Crisis of Porcelain: Energy, Deforestation, and Waste in Early Modern Jingdezhen
Parul Singh
The Gardens of Qaiserbagh: Between Myth, Reality and Illusion

Christopher Williams-Wynn
Metabolic Aesthetics: Colonial Genealogies in the Emergence of Ecological Art, c. 1970


Predoctoral Fellowships 2023/24

Kate Donovan
Sound Seeds Border-crossing and the Dispersal of Radio Waves, Seeds, and Sound Archives

Lea Viehweger
The Meaning of Plants in Portraiture and Visual Culture from German-speaking Countries circa 1470 to 1570

Affiliated 2023/24

Keivan Moussavi Aghdam (Brückenstipendium Iran, DAAD)
Archaeology, Art and Visual Culture, and the Question of National Identity in Modern Iran

Links for Additional Information


Head: Dr. Hannah Baader
Program Coordinator: Antje Paul