Ulrike Küchler studied Comparative Literature, Philosophy and American Studies in Potsdam and Tübingen and completed her M.A. in 2008. 2008 to 2009 she was a teaching assistant at the Department of German Studies, Brown University and 2009 to 2010 she was employed as a research assistant/ lecturer at the Department of German Studies/ Comparative Literature at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. She taught courses on artificial life in literature, utopias and dystopias as motifs and in theory as well as an introductory seminar on Comparative Literature. She is and was in editing for several journals, amongst others the International Journal of Literary Culture arcadia, and presented papers and organized panels at various conferences, amongst others at the NeMLA 2010 Convention (Montréal) and the ACLA 2011 Convention (Vancouver). Ulrike Küchler is a scholarship holder of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes. Since October 2010 she has been writing her dissertation at the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies (Berlin).
In her dissertation project Ulrike Küchler investigates the particular forms and functions of medial problems as related to artificial life in literature. Ever since the 18th century the creation of man and art is brought into dialogue with the techniques that created them thus challenging the boundaries between artificial creatures, mediality and artistic forms of expression: literary texts stage automata as a composition of (medial) prostheses including writing machines, speaking machines and music machines; at the laboratories of art and technology artificial creatures emerge from artistic experiments with phonographic sounds, photographic projections and filmic presentations; synaesthetic experiences of multimedia spaces transform both man and world into artwork themselves; finally, artificial artists and recipients challenge the question of the very artificial reproducibility of art. Such, both canonical and lesser-known literary texts (amongst others by Jean Paul, Villiers de l’Isle Adam, Yevgeny Zamyatin and Richard Powers) reflect, comment and transform the discoursive construction of man and machine as well as medium and art. They tell stories of how man will be capable of eventually calling machines into life, they transfer new medial techniques into poietic principles and therefore question man’s relation to both himself and such medial novelties. The dissertation is thus concerned with hybrid figures and modes of narration that are liminal beings between seemingly disparate forms of existence – especially with regard to its methodology and the comparative text corpus and due to intermedial and interdiscoursive references the project thus eventually turns out to be a liminal being itself.