Kristine Nielsen


Kristine Nielsen is a first year Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. Her interests range from contemporary art, visual studies, historiography, ekphrasis, theories of iconology to media theory and beyond. Her undergraduate studies in studio art (painting and drawing) and linguistics (primarily structuralist) formed the backdrop for her studies in art history during her cand.mag. (2001) at Københavns Universitet, Denmark, which led to an interest in the relations between word and image, the semiotics of representation, and from there into the study of perception. In 2000 she spent six months at the Università degli studi di Roma ‘La Sapienza’, Rome, Italy, through a scholarship with the European cultural exchange, Sokrates Erasmus.

Her recent research has focused on the ambivalent character of Communist monuments, images and objects in East Berlin during the unification of Germany in 1989-90 and the iconoclasm, iconoclash, and iconophilia resulting from the merging and clashing of visual cultures. Objects turn into ambiguous Things, revealing not only the excess value and personification attributed to them but also the act of mistaking medium and image. The case of DDR images confirms, yet again, that destroying material things does not destroy the organic existence of an image. Another recent project investigates C.T.R. Wilson’s mimetic experiment with his cloud chamber invention at the turn of the century. The project attempts to turn the science object and its existence as a matter of fact into an art object (P. Galison), but it also tries to let image and logic collapse for a while emerging, instead, as a matter of concern (B. Latour), and, yes, as a Thing by letting the chamber represent the greater realm of human experience, seeing clouds as the medium of thought.

The Chicago School of Media Theory has provided Kristine with a social space for engagement with cross-disciplinary texts and discussion on media theory, and to do so with a remarkable and diverse group of bright students sharing a fascination for the mess that media get us into, how body and medium continuously change places, and, to her especially, the role of the image in the midst of these exchanges. In her free time (?), Kristine enjoys running by Lake Michigan, painting, and has a particularly high fondness for chocolate. She has published two short books on painting, worked as a translator and an editorial assistant for a Chicago-based publisher. She has also worked at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (1999), and presently at The Art Institute of Chicago (2001- ).


Chicago School Media Theory: Reading List

Media Theory Keywords Glossary: image

Theories of Media Annotation: Miwon Kwon’s “Genealogy of Site Specificity,” in One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity

MA Thesis: “The Strange Case of East German Monuments: Iconoclasm, Iconoclash, and the Rest”