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Mina Lunzer (Martina Lunzer)

Mina Lunzer's main fields of interest are the history and theory of medicine/psychiatry and the history and theory of cinema. She holds an M.A. equivalent in Fine Arts (completed in 2009) and in Cultural Studies ("Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften", completed in 2013), both from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (Austria), with studies abroad at the University of Sydney (Australia) and the Berlin University of the Arts (Germany). Since 2009 Mina Lunzer has been working on a history of sleep and dream research, having received postgraduate fellowships awarded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research (2009-2010) and the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (Germany, 2010-2011). From October 2014 to September 2015, Mina Lunzer continued the project at the DK 'The Sciences in Historical, Philosophical and Cultural Contexts' / University of Vienna.

Research Project: And when sleep passed into the realm of life... Sleep and Dream Research as Reflected in Changing Media and Film Technology (Focus USA, 1970-present)

When pausing the video recording of a sleeping person, one may notice something eerie: the musculature of the body grows stiff, the sound of breathing turns silent. The depiction of sleep seems to have shifted into the iconography of death. When allowing the video to continue the sleeper is awakened to life (again). Indeed, the perception of sleep — as a vivid process — appears strongly consolidated by the particular condition and potential of a "filmic" (time-based, motion-sensitive) recording.

In the first half of the 20th century sleep turned into an object of scientific curiosity. And it has been precisely in "modern" (i.e. instrumentally structured) sleep research that camera systems have been extensively used, e.g. to document and analyze experiments or by the application of time-lapse photographs that would enable a rhythmic exploration of the movements of sleepers. Increasingly, those recordings began circulating between the lab and the public, i.e. cinema spaces and TV — and back again. Yet, ever since the use of long endurance brain waves recordings (via EEG), research on dreaming has found its way into the sleep laboratory as well. But, the altered aesthetic of sleep through time-based recordings of the body could hardly be expected to leave the former conception of the dream untouched. In what way did the use of time-based camera technologies (and their aesthetic limits) alter sleep and dream and perceptions of "body" and "psyche" in the sleep lab? The project is based on a case study taken from US sleep and dream research — the work of J. Allan Hobson (Harvard Medical School). The project is taking hold of results from my own ongoing film project on the topic.

Public Outreach Activity

An exhibition on the state of Mina Lunzer's research was shown at Galerie Mezzanin in Vienna and presented in a talk at mumok - museum moderner kunst stiftung ludwig wien - on 29 October 2014, 7 pm.

Galerie Mezzanin

Link to the event

DK Program The Sciences in Historical, Philosophical and Cultural Contexts
UZA2/Rotunde - Althanstrasse 14, Ebene 3, Stiege H
1090 Wien
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T: +43-1-4277-40872
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University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0