Lutz Koepnick is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of German, Cinema and Media Arts at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He received a Joint-Ph.D. in 1994 in German Studies and Humanities from Stanford University. After teaching for nearly twenty years at Washington University in St. Louis, Koepnick joined Vanderbilt in June 2013.

Koepnick has published widely on film, media theory, visual culture, new media aesthetic, and intellectual history from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. He is the author of On Slowness: Toward an Aesthetic of the Contemporary (2014)Framing Attention: Windows on Modern German Culture (2007); The Dark Mirror: German Cinema between Hitler and Hollywood (2002); Walter Benjamin and the Aesthetics of Power (1999); and of Nothungs Modernität: Wagners Ring und die Poesie der Politik im neunzehnten Jahrhundert (1994). Koepnick is the co-author of Windows | Interface (2007), [Grid ‹ › Matrix]  (2006), and the co-editor of various anthologies on German cinema, sound culture, new media aesthetics, aesthetic theory, and questions of exile. His current projects include Unframing the Long Take: Art Cinema and the Wondrous, a book investigating the representation of time and duration in international art cinema and moving image art today.


on slowness

Speed is an obvious facet of contemporary society, whereas slowness has often been dismissed as conservative and antimodern. Challenging a long tradition of thought, Lutz Koepnick instead proposes we understand slowness as a strategy of the contemporary—a decidedly modern practice that gazes firmly at and into the present’s velocity.

As he engages with late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century art, photography, video, film, and literature, Koepnick explores slowness as a critical medium to intensify our temporal and spatial experiences. Slowness helps us register the multiple layers of time, history, and motion that constitute our present. It offers a timely (and untimely) mode of aesthetic perception and representation that emphasizes the openness of the future and undermines any conception of the present as a mere replay of the past. Discussing the photography and art of Janet Cardiff, Olafur Eliasson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Michael Wesely; the films of Peter Weir and Tom Tykwer; the video installations of Douglas Gordon, Willie Doherty, and Bill Viola; and the fiction of Don DeLillo, Koepnick shows how slowness can carve out spaces within processes of acceleration that allow us to reflect on alternate temporalities and durations.

On Slowness: Toward an Aesthetic of the Contemporary
Columbia University Press
October, 2014
Cloth336 pages, 44 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-231-16832-8
$35.00 £24.00
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