Venus as Muse

Figurations of the Creative

Concept: Günter Blamberger, Sebastian Goth, Hanjo Berressem
Contact: Sebastian Goth (sebastian.goth[at]
Venue: Tagungsraum Seminargebäude, University of Cologne (January 18-19)
Internationales Kolleg Morphomata, Center for Advanced Studies, Weyertal 59 (Back Building), 3rd Floor (January 20)

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In cooperation with
Zentrum für Medienwissenschaften
University of Cologne

„How is Venus born from the sea, how is time born from the noisy heaven? How are forms born from the formless?“ asks French philosopher Michel Serres in „Genesis“, where he relates questions about the genesis of forms from a universal chaos to the figure of Aphrodite|Venus and the creation myth of her birth from the sea. Although Aphrodite|Venus has been worshipped, predominantly, as a beautiful goddess of love, she has also embodied different forms of creativity, such as divine, natural, sexual, and artistic. Accordingly, she does not only incorporate concepts of beauty and love, but figures as a goddess of creativity, sexuality, and fertility and has often been venerated as a muse.
The conference seeks to address concrete cultural figurations of Aphrodite|Venus and the different conceptualizations of creativity these figurations both manifest and transform. These conceptualizations are contoured by way of cultural comparisons with non-Western figurations of creativity - with „Sisters of Venus“ (Joe J. Heydecker).
A special focus lies on different media of representation, such as literature, film, and the visual arts.


Elizsabeth Asmis (Chicago): Venus and the Passion for Renewal in Lucretius´ Poem ...

Peter Seiler (Berlin): Venus in der italienischen Kunsttheorie der frühen Neuzeit

Ekkehard Mai (Cologne): Manet - Cabanel - Cézanne

Jennifer Shaw (Rohnert Park, CA): The Figure of Venus

Tom Conley (Harvard): Rimbaud´s Venus Backwards

Colin Gardner (Santa Barbara): Samuel Beckett´s »Peephole« Venus. 

Hanjo Berressem (Cologne): The Transit of Venus

Rudolf Drux (Cologne): »Gefährtin beim Schreiben der Verse« 

Elisabeth Bronfen (Zurich): Cleopatra’s Venus

Patricia MacCormack (Cambridge/ Chelmsford): Venusian Queer Ecosophy

Juliette Harrisson (Birmingham): Isis and Venus in Egypt and Beyond

Tao Jian (Berlin) Nüwa - die chinesische Schwester der Venus

Almut-Barbara Renger (Berlin): »The Tao of Venus: From Aphrodite to Kuan Yin«