Tim Flohr Sørensen
SAXO-Institute - Archaeology, Ethnology, Greek & Latin, History
Karen Blixens Plads 8, Building: 13B.1.02
2300 København S
As an archaeologist, I have been characterised in a variety of ways; a colleague has branded me as a “reactionary archaeologist”; an anthropologist portrayed me as “an archaeologist but not so much it becomes a problem”; a colleague working in contract archaeology described me as “not a real archaeologist”; another colleague from the museum sector labelled my work as “art – not research”.
While flattered by such overwhelming accolades, I tend to frame my work a tad more humbly as belonging within the field of contemporary and temporary archaeology with a rooting in feminist theory, taking a particular interest in epistemology and aesthetics. The empirical context for my work is our contemporary ecologies, that is, ruinous, post-industrial architecture and anthropocene landscapes, in addition to random everyday epiphenomena encountered in highways and byways.
As I have to admit to not quite understanding the current academic excitement about ontology - or the fuzz over interdisciplinarity for that matter - I guess my research is neither ground-breaking, innovative, original, progressive, avant-garde nor revolutionising. Rather, I seek to hold on to questions that have marked archaeology since its origins in the 19th century: in what form is knowledge possible when archaeological traces are categorically characterized by epistemic and aesthetic uncertainty, marked by absence, fragmentation, vagueness, and even tracelessness?
My ongoing research focuses on neglectable objects that seem to be culture historically insignificant; they are inconsequential, impotent, or meaningless, but that are present, nevertheless. Such objects are normally disregarded as irrelevant or without context, and they do seem to have little or no information value. In archaeological terms, such objects are ‘stray finds’, ‘out of context’, or ‘miscellanea’. My ambition is to recover a form of archaeology offering a space for the encounter with incidental objects. To this end, I explore forms of representation that do not aim for systematic, objective documentation, but instead accept that chance observations must engender subjective, speculative fabulation.
This work has resulted in the opening of The Hub for Speculative Fabulations upon Incidental Observations. The Hub is an unfinanced network of researchers with an interest in the modest, the ignored and that which leads thoughts astray. With no preceding hypothesis, the aim is to explore the topography of the neglected and the shy by pursuing such unplanned trails. Hesitation and doubt are the primary methods of The Hub. So far, activities in The Hub has led to the Insignificants series (2019-2020) and the anthology Miscellanea: A cabinet of curiosities (2023).
Also, I have been working – for longer than I like to admit – on a book that develops the notion of ‘the trace’ as a core concept for the archaeological. A grant from the Carlsberg Foundation will give me the opportunity to focus exclusively on completing the book between September 2023 and September 2024.
I teach theoretical courses at BA and Master's levels, and contribute to a host of other courses on both educational levels. Also, I supervise BA projects and Master's dissertations.
Main supervisor for:
- Sandie Holst (The National Museum and the University of Copenhagen)
- Stefanie Langaa Jensen (Museum Southeast Denmark and the University of Copenhagen)
Co-superviser for (graduated)
- Mathias Christiansen Broch (Holstebro Museum and the University of Copenhagen)
- Anna Severine Beck (Aarhus University and Museum Southeast Denmark)
- Pernille Desirée Peiter Pantmann (University of Copenhagen and Museum North Zealand)
- Julie de Vos (Aarhus University)
- Trine Borake (Aarhus University and Museum Western Zealand)
- Linda Boye (University of Copenhagen and Kroppedal Museum)
- Sebastian Becker (as external advisor, University of Cambridge)