Dr. Steffen Köhn

Steffen Köhn

Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology

Research Associate M.A. Visual and Media Anthropology

Iltisstr. 7
Room 004
14195 Berlin

Office hours

Only by appointment

Dr. Steffen Köhn studied Social Anthropology and Film Studies at Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz and at Freie Universität Berlin (Master in Social and Cultural Anthropology 2006) and Film Directing at Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (dffb). He received his doctorate degree in 2014 from Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. His areas of interest include theory and practice of ethnographic filmmaking, Digital Anthropology and the anthropology of media, mobility and migration, and material infrastructures.



Invited Talks and Keynotes

2018  “Charting Migratory Spaces – Anthropological Theory and Aesthetic Practice”. Institute of Anthropology, Universität Heidelberg

2018 “Inside ‘El Paquete' - Cuba’s Offline Data Distribution Network as a Media Ecosystem”.Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, LMU München.

2018 “¿Por qué una antropología digital? Principios y prácticas.” Departamento de Estudios Teóricos y Sociales, Universidad de La Habana. 

2018 “Sites of Possibility. Contemporary Representations of Migration”. Invited Keynote. International Conference Mediations | Migrations. Migrant Experience Through Images. Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan.

2018  “What is Visual Anthropology?” Research-led Filmmaking Series. U–jazdowski Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw

2017  “Remediating Ethnographic Collections: Video Art and the Postcolonial Museum”. Invited Keynote. International Conference Ways of Doing, Ways of Being: Artistic Practices in and with Anthropology. National Museum of Ethnology, Lisbon

2016 “Desktop Screens as Film Locations. Ethno-graphic Film on New Terrain.” School of Humanities, Tallinn University.

2015  “Spatial Narratives”. Invited Keynote. International Seminar Film in Ethnographic Exhibitions. National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen

2015  “Mediating Mobility”.Zentrum für Interkulturelle Studien (ZIS), Johannes Gutenberg-University  Mainz

2015  “Blurred Borders. Ethnographic Film in the Transnational Present”. Institute of Ethnology, Westfälische Wilhelmsuniversität Münster.

2013 Organizing Complexities”. International Conference Arts with(out) Borders. University of Berne.

2012  “The Crystallization of Time in Mobile Images”. International Workshop Mobile Images – Images of Mobility. University of Cologne.


Presentations at Professional Meetings


2015  “Desktop Documentary”. CAV Symposium Montage as an Artistic, Cultural & Scientific Practice. Ethnographic Museum of the University Zürich.

2015  “The Desktop Screen as Research Site”. Visual Research Conference - Society for Visual Anthropology. Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Denver, Colorado

2013“The Potential of Multi-Screen Video Installations for Ethnographic Representation”. IUAES 17th World Congress, University of Manchester.

2013 „Ethnographie als Ausstellungspraxis. Inspirationen aus der aktuellen Videokunst“. Conference of the German Anthropological Association. Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz.

2012  “Screening Transnational Spaces”.12th EASA Conference. Paris Nanterre.

2012  “Die Kartographie transnationaler Räume. Videoinstallationen als innovative Repräsentationspraktiken”. Annual Conference of the Society for Ethnography (GfE): Zwischen Objekt, Text, Bild und Performance: Repräsentationspraktiken ethnographischen Wissens. Freie Universität Berlin.



2016 Mediating Mobility. Visual Anthropology and the Age of Migration. New York: Wallflower/ Columbia University Press.

2008 Videofilm in Ghana. Ein neues Unterhaltungsmedium im Zentrum der öffentlichen Sphäre. Saarbrücken: VDM Publishing


2017 (with Urte Undine Frömming, Samantha Fox, Mike Terry) Digital Environments. Ethnographic Perspectives across Global Online- and Offline Spaces. Bielefeld: Transcript

Since 2015  Journal of Visual and Media Anthropology. (with Urte Undine Frömming)


In press  Desktop Documentary: Screens as Film Locations. In: The Routledge Handbook of Ethnographic Film and Video, ed. Phillip Vannini. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

2017 (with Urte Undine Frömming, Samantha Fox, Mike Terry) Digital Environments and the Future of Ethnography. In: Digital Environments. Ethnographic Perspectives across Global Online- and Offline Spaces. Bielefeld: Transcript: 13-24.


In Press Unpacking El Paquete - The Poetics and Politics of Cuba’s Offline Data Sharing Network. In: Digital Culture & Society 5(1).

2016 (with Urte Undine Frömming, Mike Terry) Augmented Digital Lives: Experiences in Mobility, Big Data, and Robotics. In Journal of Visual and Media Anthropology 2(1). 1-6.

2016 Migrantische Medien - Medien der Migration. In: Frauen und Film 67: 53-66.

2015 (with Urte Undine Frömming). The Anthropology of Mobile Technology. Smartphones, Wearables and Networked Selves. In Journal of Visual and Media Anthropology 1(1). 1-10

2014 Screening Transnational Spaces. Anthropology’s Spatial Paradigms and the Construction of Cinematic Space in Ethnographic Film. In: Anthrovision (Online) 2 (2).

2014  Die Videoinstallation A Tale of Two Islands als ethnographische Praxis. In: Berliner Blätter: Ethnographische und Ethnologische Beiträge 67: 68-75

2013 Organizing Complexities: The Potential of Multi-Screen Video Installations for Ethnographic Practice and Representation. In: Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies 27(5): 583-599.


2015 Intimate Distance, Digital Video (Webcam), 17 min.

Festivals: DokFest München, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival

2012 A Tale of Two Islands, 2-Channel-HD-Video Installation, 16 min.

Festivals and exhibitions: Berlinale (Forum Expanded section), Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition (Taipei), Kassel Documentary Film- and Video Festival, THE NEW MEDIUM III – Multi Screen Cinema (MAMI, Mumbai), Vienna Art Week (Galerie Hinterland) Anthropologies Numériques (Le Cube, Paris), X-Border Art Biennial (Lulea), Danish National Museum (Copenhagen), Museum of Ethnology (Dresden)

2011 Tell Me When…, Digital Video, 55 min.

Festivals: Crossing Europe Festival Linz, Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin, Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival, World Film Festival Tartu

Reviewed in: Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia 1(1).

2007 Morokapel’s Feast, Digital Video, 26 min.

Festivals: Royal Anthropological Society Film Festival, Festival of Ethnological Film Belgrade, Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival, Beeld voor Beeld Festival Amsterdam, World Film Festival Tartu, Dialektus Festival Budapest, Sardinia International Ethnographic Film Festival