Course Syllabus

Modern Frames: European Art and Cinema 

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terra nullius war_and_peace.jpg

Terra Nullis: War and Peace (2018) by Morten Barker

Semester & Location:

Spring 2024 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Art & Visual Culture Core Course - 3 credits

Study Tour:

Prague and Vienna

Major Disciplines:

Art History, Film Studies, Media Studies 



Faculty Members:

Lærke Posselt (current students, please use the Canvas inbox)

Time & Place:

Mondays & Thursdays 10:05-11:25 in V10-A33

Course Description

From the great auteurs in European filmmaking to the provocateurs of the contemporary art scene, this course examines artistic practices in European cinema and visual arts. What role do art house film and art movements play in 20th and 21st century Europe? How are aesthetics influenced by the changing political landscape? How are intellectuals and artists working during and after Socialism? When do visual arts go beyond consumerism? We will do a case study of subversive art in Vienna and post-communist Prague and meet with Danish, Austrian, and Czech film people to discuss film in the late-capitalist era.


Course Topics

Rethink Relations – Visual Arts beyond the Frame of Tradition

Based on a selection of case studies, such as arthouse films and participatory art projects, we will both analyze and critically evaluate how artists are expanding the traditional use of media and how they develop artistic expression beyond mainstream in Denmark and other Nordic countries.

Modern Frames – The Changing Contexts of Contemporary Artistic Practice

What happens to the realist tradition when European artists visualize the absurd and create works that deliberately explore the world beyond reason?

How does consumerism shape contemporary visual culture? What is subversive art and how does it relate to cultural institutions?

Central European Culture during and after Communism

How is artistic production affected by a strict regime of political ideology and repression, and which changes can be observed after the end of The Cold War when Central European countries were reshaped with new borders?

Core Course Week including Short Study Tour

The theme of the core course week is Nordic Visual Arts. We start out with a two-day seminar in Copenhagen, focusing on the role of art and cinema in the Nordic countries. The week continues with a three-day study tour to Western Denmark, where we visit AROS, Museum of Modern Art and Øst for Paradis, Art House Movie Theatre in Aarhus.

Long Study Tour Destinations


Prague and its Gothic cityscape is an established home for leading artists, film directors, and intellectuals, and the city has a lively artistic subculture. We will utilize post-communist Prague as a case study to identify artistic expression in visual arts and cinema through visits to relevant institutions, and we will meet with a contemporary local artist.


Vienna offers an opportunity to interpret the layers of history, from the Baroque city created during the Habsburg Empire to Viennese Actionism. How has radical art undermined and questioned the former imperial city and helped to manifest Vienna as a significant place for contemporary culture in Central Europe? We will explore the relations of Austria and the Czech Republic through the lens of selected artists in art and film.


Lærke Posselt 

Visual artist and documentary photographer based in Copenhagen, represented by VU Agency in Paris. Graduated as a Photojournalist in 2013 from the Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX). Recipient of numerous awards, including World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year international, PDN Photo Annual and the Danish Crown Prince Couple's Rising Star Award. With DIS since 2015.


Course Objectives

  • Gain knowledge of the varied manifestations and historical development of modern and contemporary art and film
  • Critically evaluate visual culture in the context of current Nordic and larger European issues
  • Acquire the ability to formally analyze and discuss specific works and different media
  • Practice critical discourse during study tours and classroom sessions
  • Enable students in written and oral assignments to discuss and elaborate on the visual qualities and contexts of artistic practice

Course Format

This section will meet 18 times during the semester and additional educational time will take place as students travel with faculty through Denmark and Europe. The 18 sessions will be a mix of classroom teaching, field studies to museums, and film screenings.

Field Studies

Visits to contemporary art institutions, artist studios, and film screenings.

Course Requirements

Each student will be assigned a time to give an oral presentation that will reflect a particular aspect or academic interest related to the topics of the course.

Each student will produce a longer research paper that focuses on an individually developed topic that relates closely to the course and is handed in at the end of the semester.

A work analysis paper during core course week.

Midterm exam with factual and short essay analytical questions.

To be eligible for a passing grade in this class you must complete all of the assigned work. Late assignments will be downgraded.

Grade Components




Oral presentation


Short paper


Research paper


Participation grade 


Classroom Etiquette

The use of distracting devices (smartphones, iPads, laptops, etc.) is strictly prohibited during class. Failure to comply will adversely affect participation grades. Use of laptops for the purpose of note-taking requires prior consultation with the professor. Students should refrain from all other computer activities, as they prove distracting to themselves and fellow students. Mobile phones and other electronic devices should of course be turned off and stored away.

Reading list:

Bazin, André: The Evolution of the Language of Cinema, From What is Cinema, Film Theory and Criticism, Introductory Readings, 4th ed., Oxford University Press, 1992, p.155-167.

Bingham, Adam: Jiri Menzel in Directory of World Cinema: East Europe, 2011,Mast & Kawin (2011), p.436-440.

Bishop, Claire: The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents,in Artificial Hells,Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, London, Verso, 2012, p.11-40.

Bordwell, David: The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice, Film Criticism, Vol.4 issue 1, Allegheny College, 1979, p. 716-724.

Bydzovska, Lenka: Against the Current. The story of the Surrealist Group of Czechoslovakia, 2005

Comini,Alessandra: Egon Schiele: Redefining Portraiture in the Age of Angst, in Egon Schiele Portraits, Prestel, 2014, pp.15-38.

Dassanowsky, Robert von and Oliver C. Speck: New Austrian Film: The Non-exceptional Exception (excerpts)

Deleuze, Gilles: Cinema I, Bloomsbury Academic, 2013, p. 1-12

Eliasson, Olafur: Your Engagement has Consequences, 2008

Export Valie: Expanded Cinema as Expanded Reality, 2003.

Hames, Peter: The Czechoslovak New Wave, Introduction, Wallflower Press,2005,p.1-9;p.151-166.

Hames, Peter: Czech and Slovak Cinema,Introduction, Chapter 10 Animation, Edinburgh University Press, 2010,p.1-13.

Lamac, Miroslav Czech Cubism: Points of Departure and Resolution, 1990, 54-63.

Mast, Gerald and Bruce F. Kawin, A Short History of the Movies, Pearson, 2010 (excerpts)

Natter, Tobias Gustav Klimt – No More Than A Goldsmith? In Gustav Klimt: Painting, Design, and Modern Life, Tate, London, 2008, 12-23, 236-237.

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details Due