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Maria Bjorkman

Maria received a joint M.A in German Studies from Linneaus University, Sweden, and Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Germany, and an additional M.A in German Studies from Washington University in St Louis. She is currently working on finishing her dissertation, Virtual Skins: Why Touch Screens matter (tentative title). In her dissertation she discusses the importance of touch, or haptics, for aesthetic practices and processes of identity formation in the German context. The first part focuses on discussions of touch as a form, or vehicle, of matter and meaning based on a fairly stable understanding of human corporeality. In the second, and final part, she concentrates on artistic works produced in response to the traumas of war and the crisis of identity brought on by new forms of digital technology. Compared to early modern forms of technology, digital technology obliterates and collapses differences in distance and time, resulting in a kind of liquification of matter and meaning. The outcome is the formulation of different artistic practices and forms of mediated immediacy, or intimacy, based on the understanding of touch as data mediated by screens.