©  Charles Howard Hinton
© Charles Howard Hinton
The Fourth Dimension, New York 1904.

Visual Gestaltung of Time

How we interact with images in everyday life – at work and in our private lives, in public and digital spaces – is always under the influence of time. This is not only because the perception of images always has an element of temporality, but primarily because images can present their own ways of shaping time that are only possible in visual form. But how can time be shaped visually? Which new and real time concepts appear in the sphere of the visual? To what extent do visual Gestaltungen of time influence our perception of time? We will explore these questions in an interdisciplinary study on the possibilities for visually shaping time and its fields of application in science, design and art. 


The special research project is a response to the paradigm shifts in conceptions of time in aesthetic modernity. This profound break in history – triggered by the creative and artistic avant-gardes on the one hand and by diverging concepts of time in the natural sciences and the humanities on the other – forms the point of departure for the development of new visual concepts of time. The research project focuses on their potential to enrich and differentiate our access to the phenomenon of time and their significance for our relationship with time.


Situated at the interface between the natural sciences, philosophy, art studies and design theory, the project will examine different forms of visual Gestaltung of time and their specific concepts of time. In addition to the analysis of individual case studies, focusing on historical contextualisation will enable us to identify the preconditions under which different, divergent concepts of time in the visual Gestaltung of time have been able to develop and can develop in scientific representations, in the layouts of visual and media designs, and art works.

Securing the results

Individual studies on specific forms of visually shaping and forming time as well as joint investigations on key visual concepts and models of time in the research group will be brought together in the form of workshops, symposiums and publications.

A series of evening lectures have taken place as part of the research project. The lecture series is a collaboration between the Excellence Cluster »Image Knowledge Gestaltung. An Interdisciplinary Laboratory« and the BTK University of Art and Design in Berlin.

17 May 2016    Hannelore Paflik-Huber: »Limited infinity. Models of time in contemporary art«

24 May 2016   Stefan Rieger: »Seeing time. On the biological modelling of temporality«

31 May 2016    Claudia Mareis: »The temporality of design«