Thomas Röske

Nightmares of Science: Visions of Influencing Machines

Tuesday, 17 June 2008, Large Operon, 16:00 h

Thomas Röske, Sammlung Prinzhorn Heidelberg

One of the oldest surviving images (ca. 1800) based on the design of an inmate from a mental asylum shows an influencing machine - the "Air Loom" of James Tilly Matthews, patient of London's "Bedlam" asylum. The idea of an evil apparatus controlling and killing people, born with the industrial revolution, has been revisited by each successive generation, and continues to live today. This lecture will introduce several examples of such machines, and look at the mechanisms behind them.

Dr. phil. Thomas Röske (born 1962) has been head of the Prinzhorn collection of the Psychiatric University Clinic in Heidelberg since 2002. He studied history of art, musicology and psychology at Hamburg University and obtained his doctorate in 1991, resulting in a book about Hans Prinzhorn. He was assistant professor at the Department of Art History of the University of Frankfurt from 1993 to 1999, where he served as the second speaker of the Graduate Programme "Psychic Energies of Visual Art" from 1996 to 1999. At the same time, he repeatedly worked as a freelance exhibition curator for a range of different institutions. He now teaches at the Institute for European Art History of Heidelberg University.