Martin Grünfeld

Martin Grünfeld

Assistant Professor

Member of:

    Current research

    I’m an assistant professor in Metabolic Science in Culture at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research and Medical Museion at the University of Copenhagen. My current research is about metabolic objects and collections: what they are and how they can be collected (or hosted) today. In my research, I combine ontological, aesthetic, and museological perspectives to explore metabolism in a broad sense at the interfaces between objects and thinking, art and science, conservation and decay, life and death.

    In my current research, I am exploring metabolism today from two complementary perspectives:

    I) Metabolic Objects
    We live in a time with increased focus on circulation, exchanges, interconnections, and temporalities. Perhaps a metabolic age? Today the concept of metabolism reaches from the study of cells to theories of society. Yet, it extends even further beyond the walls of laboratories and universities, and concerns fundamental questions about life and death, health and disease, nutrition and sleep, aging and temporality. Questions that are a crucial part of our lives: personally, culturally and politically. The Metabolic Objects project explores metabolism in a broad sense and aims to establish a future collection of metabolic objects. In our search for metabolic objects, we focus on four sites: the museum, the laboratory (CBMR), contemporary food culture and bioart.

    II) The Living Room at Medical Museion
    While the museum is a welcoming and caring host of objects, it is usually hostile towards life processes. But what if the museum attempted to host life? This is what the Living Room grapples with as an experimental-ontological site where we explore different states of objects from frozen hibernation prolonging life to accelerated decay. At different levels from the microscopic world of fungi, bacteria and microbiota to macro-environmental factors such as temperature, humidity and light. By engaging with the metabolic aspects of things across the organic/inorganic divide, a central aim is to make the invisible practices of preservation visible. Furthermore, the project aims at developing an experimental-ontological practice that may contribute to recent developments within the humanities such as new materialism, posthumanism and object-oriented ontology.

    The project is currently under development. It will consist of three multi-sensory processual installations: The Bin, The Compost, and The Vault.

    Research Background
    I have a PhD in Philosophy from University College Dublin, where I have worked specifically within contemporary French philosophy of science and aesthetics. However, I am always open to a wide range of theoretical perspectives, and I find it highly productive to work across disciplinary borders. In my research, I have worked inter-disciplinarily combining perspectives from continental philosophy, sociology of knowledge, history of science, literary theory, and linguistics.


    If you are interested in my research areas, do not hesitate to get in touch. I will be happy to collaborate on research projects and supervise BA and MA projects.

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