4A Laboratory: Art Histories, Archaeologies, Anthropologies, Aesthetics (4A_Lab) is a research and fellowship program designed in cooperation with Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institute and Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz including their museums and research institutions. Further partners are Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Forum Transregionale Studien.
The program aims to create a space for dialog between – oftentimes separately operating – institutions and disciplines. In particular, 4A_Lab attempts to create a new dialog between Art History, Archaeology, Anthropology/Ethnology, and Aesthetic Practices (4A), as well as other disciplines concerned with objects, practices, ecologies, and narratives (OPEN). Central to 4A_Lab is a fellowship program which brings excelling international doctoral and postdoctoral researchers to Berlin.
4A_Lab has an interinstitutional, interdisciplinary, and transregional approach and explores transcultural dynamics with regards to aesthetic and material cultures, as well as social practices and representations in museums and elsewhere. The while, it takes up current object research issues testing new liaisons between Social Sciences and the disciplines of the four A. This dialog exceeds geographical and chronological boundaries, nevertheless it will be held in relation to the collections and object constellations of the museums and institutions of Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. This takes place in cooperation with researchers of the museums and expert representatives of Forum Transregionale Studien, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, as well as other institutions of the international scientific landscape. The dialog of the annually reconstituted group of researchers is structured by an annual theme which are presented and discussed publicly in scientific seminars, conferences, workshops, transregional academies, and small exhibitions.
The focus theme of the first two years 2019/20 and 2021/22 is Plants (I/II). The program welcomes projects from a wide range of topics relating to plants that place emphasis on aesthetic processes, history of ideas, and material cultures, from the 4A disciplines but also from philosophical or literary studies, in a transregional perspective.
The program, which has existed since October 2019,is a progression and restructuring of the two research and fellowship programs Connecting Art Histories in the Museum (2009–2019) and Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices (2013–2019).