Dr. Kiersten Thamm is an art historian based in Berlin.

Misunderstanding Familiar Objects in an Imagined Future: A Critical Method for Discovery

On_Culture | Familiarity and habit lead but also limit human understanding of how objects impact people and places. An artificial plant is just an artificial plant if it remains in expected spaces and functions as intended. Through the playful use of time and format, this project crafts a novel perspective on ordinary objects and the society that produced them.

What is Biodesign?

M21D | The term “biodesign” seems to be just about everywhere these days. It’s often mentioned as part of a comprehensive approach to combating the climate crisis. Other common suggestions include biomimicry, bio-inspired design, bioengineering, and biofabrication. But what do these terms mean, and why should people who use objects (rather than design them) be interested in them?

Practicing Utopia: The Mensch Meier Collective in the Time of COVID-19

PLATFORM | Walking into the Mensch Meier with the lights turned on rarely occurs. Although a proper night of dancing at any techno club in Berlin continues past sunrise, the Mensch Meier’s labyrinthine interior remains dark as long as the base notes are roaring and the people are spinning.

2024 “Bewildering Things and Material Legacies: Recontextualizing Quotidien Objects in Stories from a Likely Future,” DASTS KONFERENCE 2024: Elegies of waste, surplus, and excess, Technical University of Denmark

2023 “Uncovering Histories of Environmental and Social Impact,” Society of Architectural Historians Conference

2023 “You can’t re-enter your path: A conversation with Karen Lamassonne about memorializing moments,” KUNST-WERKE Institute for Contemporary Art

2023 “Leveraging the Authority of Labels to Align Design with Diverse Audiences,” Terms of Art, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth University

2022 “The Chaises Sandows: Investigating Colonial and Immigration Histories of 1930s France through Steel and Rubber,” Design History Forum, Drexel University

2022 “Style Paquebot: Ocean Liners, the Steel Industry, and National Identity in Interwar France,” Society for French Historical Studies

2022 “Reconsidering the Chaises Sandows: Materials, Makers, Industry, and Environments,” College Art Association

2021 “The O.T.U.A.’s Use of Chaises Sandows within Modern Publicity Practices,” Victoria & Albert Museum, FHS

2019 “The Men of L’Union des artistes modernes: sustained productivity of a particular homosociality across the twentieth century,” Historicising Masculinities Conference, Newcastle University

2018 “Mass Production as Nature and Nature as Mass Production,” International Conference on Ecocriticism and Environmental Studies, London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research

2018 “Integration According to Herbst: Mass Production as ‘Nature’” Berkeley/Stanford Symposium, SF MoMA

2018 “A Masculine Comfort: Physical Culture, René Herbst, and the Chaise Sandows,” College Art Association

2018 “Sport, Design, and Politics,” Osher Life Long Institute, Wilmington, DE

2017“Institutional/Cripp/Queer Time at St. Elizabeths,” Graduate Student Forum, University of Delaware

2017 “Material, Structure, and a Queer Temporality at the Government Hospital for the Insane,” Art History Graduate Student Symposium, Rutgers University

2016 “The Chaises sandows, René Herbst, and Psychological Repose,” The Refuge of Objects/Objects of Refuge Symposium at the Universität Mainz

2016 “Temporality and Structure at the Government Hospital for the Insane,” UCLA Art History Graduate Symposium

2015 “Unlikely Metropolis: Cottages of The Studio,” Graduate Group Symposium, Bryn Mawr College

2015 “The 1851 Exhibition and its Legacy,” Guest Lecturer, Nineteenth-Century European Art (M. Werth), University of Delaware

2014 “Situationists International: An Introduction.” Guest Lecturer, Neo-Marxism  (A. Chari), University of Oregon

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