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. Further partners are Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Forum Transregionale Studien.

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 two years 2019/20 and 2021/22 is Plants (I/II). 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 2021/22 – Focus theme Plants II

Postdoctoral Fellows

Qiuzi Guo
The Shadow of Trees: Photography and Visual Realism in 1920s and 1930s China

Jung-Hwa Kim
Invented Woods and Forests: The Tree Collections, Displays, and Net- works of the First Korean Arboretum, 1922-1948

Parul Singh
The Gardens of Quaiserbagh: Between Myth, reality and Illusion

Melis Taner
Plants and Animals on the Move in Early Modernity: The Global Connections of Early Modern Islamic Manuscripts

Short term

Zachary Caple
Project I: Holocene in Fragments, Project II: Phytopoeisis in an Anthropocene Dunefield

Judith Elisabeth Weiss
Plants in a Box. The Herbarium as Object of Knowledge and Art

Predoctoral Fellows

Pamela Mackenzie
Microscope/Macrocosm: Early Modern Technology, Visualization and Representations of Nature

Lucas Vanhevel
Theatrum Fungorum: Picturing Fungi in the Early Modern Low Countries (1450-1700)

Links for Additional Information


Head: Dr. Hannah Baader
Program Coordinator: Antje Paul


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