The year 2018 was an incredible overwhelming experience for me with many different inputs and inspirations. I decided to use the last remaining hours of it to sit down, think about it and of course share it with you.

The first three months of 2018 were a struggling time for me. After starting my PhD project officially in September 2017 and handing in a large abstract with the current state of research, bibliography and art examples at the end of October, I was diving into articles and examples. Although I had my abstract about the image of architecture in the visual Fantastics, the PhD was still a bit vague and megalomaniac (my Word of the Year).

Furthermore, I startet a new part-time job as Office Manager in a communications agency as research and food need to be paid. The time and energy left after working till the early afternoons was invested in finding starting points and examples for my thesis. In German we have a saying about not seeing the wood for the trees (my dictionary seems to know it for English too) and that was my feeling: being lost and overwhelmed. So I started writing papers for conference calls as this appeared to be a good idea for focussing on one aspect of my thoughts, to think it through and to start writing. I handed in six papers and was very surprised when three got accepted (two were rejected and for one I am still waiting for an answer)!

PhD On Tour – Conferences & Events in 2018

I feel very honored that I was invited for so many events and conferences:

  • August 16-20: 76th World Science Fiction Convention in San José, California (you can find a short report here)
  • September 6-8: 9th Annual Conference of the Society for Fantastic Research (Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung) in Fribourg, Switzerland
  • September 20-22: Annual Conference of the Association of Contemporary History in Spain in Alicante (the whole article can be found here)

The presentations and talks at those amazing events but also the discussions besides the program and the possibility to meet so many interesting and inspiring people were an incredible experience.

And it helped me to think about what I want to do and what should be the next steps.

The Birth of Art History Fantastics

The presentations, publications and conversations in 2018 showed me one thing: it might all go back to my PhD project but I found something I really love to do and spend my time with. To bundle the various ideas, topics and approaches, I created this homepage in October and step by step added sites. Now AHF includes an overview of my PhD, a place to publish articles, thoughts and projects but also to show topics, formats and services I want to offer as a freelance and independent scholar. You can find AHF also on Facebook and Instagram.

There are many ideas in my sometimes confused head how the cultural and social questions that are raised in the (visual) Fantastics can be communicated and discussed. There are many possibilities for companies, organizations and institutions to benefit from the Fantastic media. This includes but is not limited to the reception of actual art & architecture, historical and social aspects or the image of past, present and future with different answers, focusses and approaches. During the upcoming year I will add examples and ideas to the sub page.

Independence & Freedom – Thanks to Patreon

A difficult topic to talk about is funding. I love being independent and free but of course research is expensive: the travels, books and other materials will be paid as well as my rent and sometimes food. With Patreon I found a good way to collect some funding for more ideas and projects and to expand the existing ones. As a matter of course the supporters on Patreon will benefit from special offers and expanded contents as a thank you! I want to offer my research and thoughts with a public access but printed versions or background information are a nice extra for patrons.

I would be happy to welcome you on Patreon! It was my last big piece for the puzzle to have a solid basis for all the upcoming projects in 2019 and went online last week.

2019 will be WOW!

One big event for 2019 is already set: I have the honor to present at the 40th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, Florida! This is the largest gathering of scholars from all over the world (over 400!) from the Fantastic research fields. It will be an awesome trip and I am very much looking forward to meet many colleagues.

The next Worldcon will be held in August 2019 in Dublin. A group of others of the edited volume “The Evolution of Evil” is currently working on a discussion round there that will turn into a cool book release party for the volume in the evening. I am participating in both, book and event, with an article about “From Light to Dark – Using Gothic Styles to Visualize Evil in Architecture”. The article is already finished and it was a blast to work on such a marvelous topic.

Another big project will be about Game of Thrones! In 2019 the final season will finally be released and in the end of January an exhibition with artwork used to create the essential parts of the GoT show, e.g. castles and cities but also the dragons or panoramic views, takes place in Berlin. I handed in a project application for funding various formats on the reception of the Seven Wonders of the World in Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. The decision will be made at the end of January, so please push all thumbs you can find and borrow!

And of course I will work on my PhD thesis…

This is just the Beginning…

With my homepage, Facebook and Instagram set up and Patreon ready, I think I have a solid foundation for the next steps. Everything can grow, adapt and expand if necessary. It would be great if you would be part of this fantastic quest – here, on Patreon or at an event!

The Fantastics and their imageries offer various possibilities for research but also for interesting and inspiring projects for different audiences and approaches. The cultural and social questions covered in the Fantastic worlds help us understand ourselves and rethink certain aspects of human actions and perspectives. The Fantastics are images, mirrors and projections of the past, the present and the future. And for myself they are motivation, inspiration and a good sort of fuel.

post scriptum:

I want to use these last digital words in 2018 to thank my parents for their support on all levels! What happened this year and what is planned for 2019 would not be possible without them. Thank you!

About the Author Dominic Riemenschneider

Independent scholar & PhD candidate in Art History with research about the Fantastic, its reception and roots in art and architecture. Also offering services, workshops and lectures about the Fantastic and the connection to real world events, society and developments.

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