Visiting Distinguished Fellow
Thomas Y. Levin
Thomas Levin joined the faculty at Princeton in 1990 following graduate study in art history and philosophy at Yale University and after a year in Los Angeles as a fellow at the J. Paul Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities. His teaching and scholarship range from the history of aesthetic theory and Frankfurt School cultural theory to the history and theory of media.
His work on questions of aesthetics, technology, and sound grew out of his research on metronomes, gramophones, and the prehistory of acoustic inscription, as well as his activities as associate editor of The Musical Quarterly. In addition to the J. Paul Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, he has also been a fellow at the Internationales Forchungszetnrum Kulturwissenschaften in Vienna and the Institute for Advanced Study in Budapest. Most recently, he spent a year as the academic director of the Berlin Consortium for German Studies at the FU Berlin.
Besides a number of publication and curatorial projects related to his research on the aesthetic politics of surveillance --including "Anxious Omniscience" at the Princeton University Art Musuem and "9/11 + 1: The Perplexities of Security" at Brown University's Watson Center--Levin is also working on two small books, one growing out of his Rembrandt Media project and the other on the film-theoretical cinema of Guy Debord and the Situationist International. Levin spent the academic year 2004-2005 on sabbatical leave as a senior scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. In November 2005 he organized a one-day conference at the Louvre Museum in Paris entitled "Photographie, Prison, Pouvoir : Politiques de l'Image Carcérale" which re-examined the history of what Levin calls the "carceral image" in the wake of Abou Ghraib.
Most recently, Levin curated a small show entitled "'The Arts of the Future will be radical transformations of situations, or they will be nothing': Guy Debord Cineaste" at the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia. Drawn from Levin's collection of the work of the Situationist International, the exhibition was inaugurated with a screening and roundtable discussion with Tony Vidler (Cooper Union, NYC), Keith Sanborn (Princeton) and Jean-Michel Rabbatte (U-Penn/Princeton) entitled "Film as Critical Practice: The Cinema of Guy Debord and the Spectre of the Situationist International" which can be heard in its entirety on-line.