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Ekaterina Tewes

Dissertation Project

Projection as Aesthetic-Epistemic Method in the Soviet Avant-Garde


The project aims to investigate a broad range of unexamined and mostly unpublished material from the historical context of the Soviet Avant-Garde (especially from the first half of the 1920s), focusing on its function as a performative dispositive of knowledge that emerged in the mutual crossing of arts and sciences. One main area of focus will be the extensive and largely unexamined artistic-theoretical papers of Solomon Nikritin, which are divided between the Russian State Archive of Literature and Arts (RGALI), the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and the Costakis Collection/State Museum for Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki. Another will be an examination of experimental artistic-epistemic practices in the working circle of Projectionists/Methodists that formed around Nikritin. This research intends to reconstruct the diverse points of intersection, previously neglected by research, that exist between this artist group and several strands of theory: Alexander Bogdanov’s system theory, Meyerhold’s biomechanics for theater, and the “scientific work organization” at the Central Institute of Labor or CIT (under the direction of Aleksei Gastev), as well as the experiments in movement, sound, and space in the Soviet film avant-garde (Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Lev Kuleshov). It views the paradigm of projectionist thought and practice as a characteristic claim made by these groups—a claim to an epistemic and aesthetic surplus of knowledge in the arts that unites both exemplary and anticipatory dimensions.


Ekaterina Tewes studied film studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. She has contributed to diverse cultural projects, especially in the areas of film and contemporary dance. Since June 2016 Ekaterina Tewes works as a research fellow in the DFG-funded project „Rhythmus und Projektion. Möglichkeitsdenken in der sowjetischen Avantgarde“, which is part of Peter Szondi-Institut for General and Comparative Literature at Freie Universität Berlin.