Kevin B. Lee Starts Co-directing the Master’s Program


Professor Kevin B. Lee will begin co-directing the Master’s program Research in Art, Design and Media with Professor David Quigley in the fall of 2020. With his addition to the team, the program sets off in a more international direction with emphasis on crossmedia forms of artistic production. Master’s students will engage in a wide range of contemporary media practices including: critical media such as video essays and podcasts; journalism, social media and community networking; web design and VR; film and video; and digital art and design.

The Master’s program includes Professors Olia Lialina, Joost Bottema, Mario Doulis and Peter Ott and covers a range of design areas, from new media to film. It looks to support artistic and design projects that foster interdisciplinary experimentation and intellectual rigor. The program is aimed at graduates with degrees in film, art or design, as well as students and scholars from a humanities background.

Kevin B. Lee recently described his idea about how the program should further develop: “In my three years at Merz Akademie I have encouraged students to devise a truly 21st century creative culture, seeking critical engagement with media, technology and society, embracing curiosity and initiative, and building communities through innovative approaches to communication and design. I’m excited to apply this methodology to the Master’s Program to develop its distinctive approach towards artistic research to its fullest potential.”

Merz Akademie Acting Rector Maren Schmohl welcomes the change: “Prof. Lee is an artist with a renowned international practice. Students will benefit from his energetic teaching style and his approach to engage students individually to stimulate their artistic development. His addition to the Master’s program will enhance what is already a high level of student-teacher contact, critical debate and an inclusive approach to creative expression.“


Faculty of the Merz Akademie Master’s Program

Kevin B. Lee is Professor and Head of Crossmedia Publishing at Merz Akademie since 2017. He is one of the most prolific and best-known producers of video essays, with his work featured in the New York Times, the Berlinale Film Festival and many other venues. He is the recipient of the 2018 Sundance Art of Nonfiction Award and 2019 Eurimages Creative Lab Project Award. In 2019 he organized with Professor Christoph Dreher the symposium “Creating Insights: Research and Aesthetic Discovery in the Video Essay” at Merz Akademie.

David Quigley is Professor for Cultural Theory and Head of the Master Department at the Merz Akademie. After finishing his studies in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and philosophy in Paris and at the University of Vienna, he went on to teach at the University of Vienna and was a research fellow at the Reina Sofia in Madrid. He wrote Carl Einstein: A Defense of the Real about a German Jewish communist and later anarchist art historian and poet and is currently doing research on the founder of Fluxus George Maciunas and the filmmaker Jonas Mekas. He also works extensively with graphic design, video and audio formats.

Olia Lialina, born in Moscow, Professor of New Media, is an early pioneer in in net art who over the past decade has worked with internet architecture and vernacular web cultures in artistic and publishing projects, developing an internationally respected position both in contemporary art and new media theory. From her early and highly influential My Boyfriend Came back from the War to her projects Digital Folklore and One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age to the extensive exposure or her works in exhibitions around the world, Olia Lialina is one of the foremost artists of our generation whose works have been shown at the New Museum, New York; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Transmediale, Berlin; Western Front, Vancouver;  Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Madison Square Park, New York; Barbican, London; LEAP, Berlin; MOTI, Breda; HEK, Basel; The Kitchen, NY; and Whitechapel Gallery, London.

Joost Bottema is a Dutch graphic designer and Professor of Visual Communication who under the pseudonym J.B. Matto also publishes novels and various other experimental texts. In addition to his decade-long work developing the Visual Communication program at the Merz Akademie, he has taught in China, India and throughout Europe. His expertise moves between historical perspectives on such thinkers and architects as Bruno Taut and the very pragmatic hands-on questions of design.

Mario Doulis has been a Professor of New Media at the Merz Akademie, Stuttgart since 2007. After his apprenticeship as traditional stonemason and sculptor, he graduated from School of Design Pforzheim in industrial design in 1998. His current research activities focus on virtual reality, digital archives and interactive formats of film and documentation. With a focus both on the materiality and the historicity of interactive design, his work emphasizes both the nitty-gritty functionality and historical contingency of digital technologies. He has taught and worked at numerous institutions throughout Europe.

Peter Ott has been Professor for Film and Video at the Merz Akademie since 2007 and the Dean of Studies since 2017. He has worked on numerous projects in film and television in the role of writer and filmmaker, producer, but also cameraman, editor and even actor. With works ranging from productions like his film Das Milan-Protokoll from 2018 or his recent work with students for the SWR 100 Sekunden Kunst, to more experimental work with Ute Holl Wolken, Off Exil (G-20 Remix) as well as his dedication to the artist and activist collective Schwabinggrad Ballett and his work with the Duisburger Filmwoche, Peter Ott is a manic multi-tasker whose enthusiasm is highly contagious.


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