Anke Hennig

I research literature, 20th and 21st century media, and Art Theory. I am interested in how theory in the making relates to practises of writing, and how visual culture shapes our theorisation of the contemporary condition. I often work collaboratively, across languages, national borders, and disciplines. 

An example of this is the monograph Present Tense. A Poetics, which I have written in co-authorship with Armen Avanessian. Published 2012 in German, it was translated in 2014 into Russian and is forthcoming in English. In this book we developed a concept of the contemporary novel. Through systematic experiments  with the linguistic tenses that we were able to track down in English, Russian, American, French and German 20th Century Avant-Gardes, the novel has acquired a form of fiction that models our experience of time. A theory of contemporaneity inherent in present tense novels has no companion in the philosophy of time so far. In the way it allows us to share the temporality of our lives today it can be compared only to the invention of the central perspective in painting during European Renaissance that opened up the real world as a shared, common space. I am interested in the 21st Century dialogue between literary and visual arts that works towards an imagination of the future to provide us with political models of action, both individually and collectively.

Recently, I initiated an international research group exploring the temporality of theory called Retro-Formalism, with colleagues from London, New York University, the Higher School of Economics Moscow, and the Free University in Berlin,.

Prior to this I developed the concept of the collaborative research platform, Speculative Poetics in cooperation with Armen Avanessian that tried to re-establish a dialogue between contemporary fiction and philosophical speculation.

Since 2002 I have taught regularly at Humboldt-Universität Berlin and Freie Universität Berlin. My teaching focused on the Russian avant-gardist culture of things, experimental Screenwriting, early  Russian sound film, the experience of time in the 20th century novel, and the theory of narrative poetics. I led workshops and seminars on these topics at New York University, Cultural Institutions like Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), The Public School and Universität der Künste (Berlin).

My teaching accompanied my research, which touched upon practises at work between the Arts in constellations of media-innovations, and drastic political ruptures. My PhD focused on Scriptwriting for experimental sound film in the advent of Stalinism. The dialogue of literature and film in between the world wars lead to an experience that since Deleuze is famously known as the “time image”. This research led me to a revision of the temporal poetics of the novel and further to investigate the poetic nature of language in the book, Metanoia. Speculative Ontology of Language (in co-authorship with Armen Avanessian, 2014). These monographs were accompanied by editing collaborative books, translating relevant theory from other languages, making public unknown discourses and organizing series of talks, workshops and conferences. Currently I am working on a book with the working title “Poetonomy”. I intend to question the Autonomy of the Arts in the age of technological imagination and to investigate their creation of common values and meaningful futures in post-socialist and hyper-capitalist societies.

I hold a PhD in Philosophy from the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature at Freie Universität Berlin (2005). From 2003-2010 I was a fellow in the interdisciplinary research centre, Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic LimitsIn 2012, I assumed responsibility for the external evaluation of international research by acting as a referee for the Swiss National Fund and for the periodical Slavic Review (Illinois).


Recent publications


Metanoia. Spekulative Ontologie der Sprache. [Metanoia. Speculative Ontology of Language], co-authored with Armen Avanessian, Berlin, Merve 2014 (review at

Präsens. Poetik eines Tempus co-authored with Armen Avanessian. Zürich: Diaphanes, 2012

Ibid. Poetika Nastoiashego Russian translation of Präsens. Poetik eines Tempus, co-authored with Armen Avanessian. Moscow: RGGU Press, 2014

Forthcoming Present Tense. A Poetics English translation of Präsens. Poetik eines Tempus co-authored with Armen Avanessian. New York, London, Bloomsbury

Sowjetische Kinodramaturgie. Konfliktlinien zwischen Literatur und Film in der Sowjetunion der 1930er Jahre [Soviet Cinematic Dramaturgy. Lines of Conflict Between Soviet Literature and Cinema in the 1930s]. Berlin: Vorwerk 8, 2010 

As Editor

Poesie und Begriff 'Poetry and Concept' co-edited with Armen Avanessian and Steffen Popp. Zürich: Diaphanes, 2015

Guillaume, Gustave. Zeit und Verb Temps et Verb with Armen Avanessian, translated by Esther van der Osten. Zürich: Diaphanes, 2014

Podoroga, Valerii. Plan und Zeit Plan and Time chapter from Mimesis Vol. I, with Armen Avanessian. Zürich: Diaphanes, 2014

Der Präsensroman [The Present-Tense Novel], co-edited with Armen Avanessian; in series Narratologia, vol. 36. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 2013

Jetzt und Dann. Zeiterfahrung in Film, Literatur und Philosophie [Now and Then. Experience of Time in Film, Literature and Philosophy], co-edited with Gertrud Koch, christiane Voss, Georg Witte. Munich: Fink, 2010 


Über die Dinge:Texte der russischen Avantgarde [About Things: Texts of the Russian Avant-Garde]. Hamburg: Fundus, 2010


Rastvorenie iskusstva v materiale. Postformalistskaia teoria iskusstv Ieremia Ioffe. Proceedings of the Second International Brik Readings. Moscow: State University of Printing Arts, 2015

Das Ding ist ein Wort.Positionen der GAChN im Kontext des avantgardistischen Reismus [The Thing is a Word. Positions of the State Academy of Artistic Research in the Context of Avant-Garde Reism],in Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, Sonderheft 12 (ed. by Nikolaj Plotnikov). Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 2014

Cinematicity of Speech and Visibility of Literature: The Poetics of Soviet Film Scripts of the Early Sound Film Era, in Cinematicity in Media History, ed. by Jeffrey Geiger and Karin Littau. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013

Überlegungen zur “künstlerischen Zeit” an der GAChN [Considerations on “Artistic Time” at the State Academy of Artistic Research] in Form und Wirkung. Phänomenologische und empirische Kunstwissenschaft in Russland der 1920er Jahre, ed. by Aage A. Hansen-Löve, Brigitte Obermayr, and Georg Witte. Munich: Fink, 2013, pp. 281-306

Experimental Poetics and Metanoetic Language (Zaum’). An Exemplary Sentence, in Anfang gut. Alles gut. Actualizations of the Futurist Opera Victory over the Sun (1913). Bregenz: Kunsthaus Arena, 2013, pp. 252-256 (German version ibid., pp. 248-251)

Das Rätsel der Gleichzeitigkeit [The Enigma of Synchronicity] in Synchronisierung der Künste, ed. by Robin Curtis, Gertrud Koch and Mark Siegel. Munich: Fink Verlag, 2013, pp. 23-40

Dinge teilen [Dividing Things], in Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung1. 2012, pp. 185-201

Chelovek s kinoapparatom [The Man with the Movie-Camera], in Noev kovcheg russkogo kino. Ot 'Sten'ki Razina' do 'Stiliag', ed. by Ekaterina Vassilieva and Nikita Braguinski. Vinnytsia, Ukraine: Globus-Press, 2012, pp. 77-82

Ten Theses on “Speculative Poetics”, co-authored with Armen Avanessian.

“Kak my rabotaem nad kinostsenariem” Vzgliady O. Brika v kontekste kinodramaturgii 1930-ych gg [“How we work on the scenario” O. Brik’s Point of View in the Context of the Cinematic Dramaturgy of the 1930s], in Pervye Brikovskie chteniia. Moscow: MGUP, 2011, pp. 402-407

Das Zeitbild im Osteuropäischen Film nach 1945 [The Time-Image in East European Cinema since 1945], in Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft, November 2011. Review of the volume ed. by Natascha Drubek-Meyer, Jurij Murašov. Vienna, Cologne, Weimar: Böhlau, 2010,

Vorwort [Preface] in Über die Dinge:Texte der russischen Avantgarde. [About Things. Texts of the Russian Avant-Garde]. Hamburg: 2010, pp. 13-32

Predmet (issledovaniia) i forma literatury [The Object (of Investigation) and the Form of Literature], in Logos: Filosofskii zhurnal. Moscow: 2010, pp. 162-175 

Conference Papers

Invited Papers (Selection) 

30 Nov. 2014 Retroformalist devices in Speculative Poetics. Revisioning the concept of shift. (in Russian) at the conference “The Russian intellectual Revolution 1900-1930”, RANChIGs Moscow 

23 Jan. 2015 Poetonomy of Speculation (in German) Poetonomie der Spekulation. Workshop Spekulation und Verführung an der Heinrich Heine Universität, Düsseldorf 

29 May 2014 Philosophy and Literature. From the Point of View of Speculative Poetics (Poetonomy). Talk (in Russian) at the Department for Philosophy, Moscow State University 

24 May 2014 Solomon Nikritin Projects a Thing. On the Notions of Matter, Object and Concept in the Russian Avant-Garde. Talk (in German) at the AUS-STELLEN conference, Universität der Künste Berlin 

15 May 2014 Poetonomy and the Methodology of the Error. Lecture in the series “Scales of Relation” at the Department for Visual Culture, Goldsmiths, London 

28 Apr. 2014 Identity and Post-National Communities. Poetics of Contemporaneity in the Altermodern Novel. Lecture (in Russian) in the lecture series at the European Café, Minsk 

27 Mar. 2014 Why Analysis has to be Speculative. The Contingency of the Real in Speculative Philosophy and Lacanian Psychoanalysis. Talk and seminar at the Unbehagen Psychoanalytical Society, NYC 

4 Dec. 2013 Metanoia. Lecture (in Russian) at Russian State University for Humanities, Moscow 

25 Nov. 2013 Shooting Contemporaneity, Editing History. Esfir Shub’s Poetics of the Chronicle. Global Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh 

1718 Nov. 2013 Save the Date, introduction, chair, discussant, and co-organizer of the workshop Re-enactments of 1917 in film with Yanni Kotsonis at the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia in co-operation with the Department for Slavic Studies, NYU 

17 Oct. 2013 From Commodity to Comradeship. Gender in the Russian Avant-Garde. Lecture at the Department for Slavic Studies, University of Durham 

16 Oct. 2013 Metanoia. Lecture at the “Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies“ open seminar series, Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex 

1 Oct. 2013 Crisis of Critique. At the workshop “Anguish Language” organized by Anthony Iles, Universität der Künste Berlin               

1617 Sep. 2013 The Present as a Documentary Tense. As part of the international conference “Time and Temporality”, University of Leuven    

2529 Aug. 2013 Retro-Formalism – On Contemporary Modes of Theoretical Innovation. Paper (in Russian) at the international conference to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Russian Formalism, organized by the RGGU and Higher School of Economics, Moscow 

28 Jun. 2013 Poetonomy of Speculation. At a workshop organized by Anthony Iles, Universität der Künste Berlin    

3 May 2013 Corrupting Sovereignty. Autonomy and Poetonomy of Aesthetics in Russian Cinema. At the interdisciplinary conference Sovereignty: Stages and Frontiers at the New York University organized by Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, Stefanos Geroulanos, and Nicole Jerr 

4 Apr. 2013 Spekuliativnaia poetika. Paper (in Russian) at the Center for Contemporary Philosophy and Social Sciences, Faculty for Philosophy, Lomonosov Moscow State University 

28 Mar. 2013 Why Poetics? The critical ontology of Poetics. Paper (in Russian). Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 

15 Mar. 2012 with Armen Avanessian. The Alter-Modern Novel: The Presentness of History and the Contemporaneity of the Past. International conference, Leipzig University, in co-operation with the Leipzig book fair, organized by Sike Horstkotte and Leonhard Herrmann 

2 Dec. 2011 Metaphors of Violence. Revisiting Vsevolod Pudovkin’s 'Mechanics of the Brain'. Paper in the Anthropological Imagination series at the department for Media and Communication, Goldsmiths, London 

1720 Nov. 2011 The Present as a Documentary Tense in Factography. Annual ASEEES conference in Washington, 2011 

13 Oct. 2011 Present (tense) Memory. Part of the project Memory at War at the University of Cambridge

10 Oct. 2011 'History of Today’: Esfir Shub’s 'Segodnia' (1929-1930). In the Russian Cinema Research Group at the School for Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL, London, 

7 Oct. 2011 “Is Today Yesterday’s Future? Time Displacements in the Metanoetic Language (Zaum') of Russian Futurism” Paper (in German). Part of the workshop „Anfang gut, alles gut“ at the Kunsthaus Bregenz 

24 Jun. 2011 Pudovkin and the Asynchrony of Sound. European Network of Cinema and Media Studies Conference 2011, London 

28 Apr. 2010 Unpredictable Things. Paper (in German) Annual convention of IKKM Weimar. View a recording of the conference