Natural Media: Prof. Mittelberg hält Vortrag an der Aarhus Universität

Irene Mittelberg wird am 27. Januar 2012 einen Vortrag halten auf dem Winter Symposium des Center for Semiotik der Universität Aarhus, das dieses Jahr unter dem Motto "What Are Artworks and How Do We Experience Them?" steht. Sie wird über "Body Balance: Felt Qualities of Meaning in Gesture and Abstract Art" referieren: Based on a comparative semiotic analysis of static abstract works of art and dynamic gestural images, this paper explores the role of embodied conceptual structures as driving forces in the constitution and interpretation of visual signs. One of the underlying assumptions is that despite their metonymic spareness, abstract depictions in paintings and "descriptive gestures, those forerunners of line drawing" (Arnheim 1969: 117) enable the beholder to relate to the actions represented or performed in front of them based on her or his cognitive, physical and social experiences (cf. Bredekamp 2010; Krois et al. 2007).

It will be argued that the "structure of the world" (Merleau-Ponty 1962: 216) as exhibited in selected paintings by Paul Klee and coverbal gestures may be said to be motivated to a certain degree by image and force schemata (Johnson 1987; Talmy 1983). As gesture research has shown, expressive body motion and posture may reflect schemata such as BALANCE, PATH, OBJECT, CONTAINER, CENTER-PERIPHERY, LEFT/RIGHT, SUPPORT, etc. (Cienki 2005; Mittelberg 2010). These structures seem to not only guide processes of experiencing and interpreting the world, but also to underlie gestural instances of "exbodiment" of inner images, inclinations and emotions (Mittelberg 2008: 149). This talk aims to offer some glimpses at ‘felt qualities of meaning' (Johnson 2007), hoping to shed light on some bodily aspects of the understanding of art works and human communicative behavior (Brandt 2006; Johnson 2007; Turner 2006).