Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Mnemosyne Atlas' keyword pg.1 of 1

The artistic image: 'between the sayable and the visible'

"The sworn enemy of this logic of combination or juxtaposition are the border police of genre classification (typical of art history and its curatorial leanings which seem to contaminate film theory too) who struggle with any notion of redistribution of the sensible. It is in The Future of The Image that Jacques Rancière defines the artistic image as a set of operations or relations 'between the sayable and the visible' and calls this the regime of the 'distribution of the sensible', a status quo which can be altered, through a redistribution, which creates new ways of seeing (Rancière, 2007: 6). In the work of Marker and Godard, such a redistribution of the sensible has been generally understood, categorised as–and duly named–'film–essays', ever since André Bazin coined the phrase, referring specifically to Marker's work as a political and historical type of writing mediated by poetry (Bazin, 1985: 179–181). Fine. But what does the catch–phrase cover? What practice does it immunise? Is there a risk of seriously limiting the scope and aesthetic dimension of such films by segregating them?

Phillip Lopate considers the film–essay a 'cinematic genre that barely exists' in Can Movies Think? In Search of The Centaur: The Essay–Film (Lopate, 1998: 280). It must have words, whether spoken, subtitled, or intertitled. These must represent a single voice and exclude any collage of quoted texts that do not reflect a 'unified perspective'. The film must be an argument, an attempt at working out a problem; it must put across a personal view, and be well–written (Lopate, 1998: 283). However, his classification is quite prescriptive: no interviews are allowed and no documentaries (Lopate, 1998: 305). Yet, Lopate's examples include Resnais's documentary Night and Fog (1955) and his dictate of 'reasoned, essayistic discourse' seems too narrow from the perspective of visual art, and certainly contradicts his celebration of Marker, whose digressive approach to text and image is deliberate in a spiralling multiplicity that brings to mind, for example, Carlo Emilio Gadda's novels which are equally and intentionally digressive and always on the edge of subverting the integrity of the text, or, perhaps closer to home in a French milieu, Georges Perec's roving pen in Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (1997) that picks up from the smallest detail of everyday life a point of departure for a long intellectual journey. In this regard, Italo Calvino's 1985 Harvard lecture on multiplicity, later collected in Six Memos of the next Millenium (1993), provides an excellent cultural context for exploring the method and the creative potential of experimenting beyond the limitations of genre from inside, showing how genre can become a nonsense when its border lines are crossed, because you are invited to look at the real differently; true of these filmmakers, true of Calvino himself, true of the films of Michelangelo Antonioni or of Federico Fellini's too."

(David Brancaleone, 2012, Vertigo Magazine)

Brancaleone, D. (2012). "The Interventions of Jean–Luc Godard and Chris Marker into Contemporary Visual Art". Vertigo Magazine. Spring 2012.


Andre Bazinart history • artistic image • border crossings • border/boundaryborderline • Carlo Emilio Gadda • Chris MarkerChristian Boltanski • cinematic genre • classificationcontemporary artcontemporary visual artcuratorial practice • digression • digressive approach • distribution of the sensible • essayistic discourse • experimental cinemaFederico Fellinifilm essayfilm theory • genre classification • genre differentiation • Georges Perec • integrity of the text • interventionist artJacques RanciereJean-Luc GodardjuxtapositionMichelangelo AntonioniMnemosyne Atlasmulti-media collagistmultiplicitiesmultiplicity • new ways of seeing • Night and Fog (1955) • Okwui Enwezor • Phillip Lopate • problem centric approach • redistribution • redistribution of the sensible • sayable • sensible • set of operations • set of relations • Six Memos of the next Millenium (1993) • Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (1997) • text and image • unified perspective • Vertigo (magazine) • video artist


Simon Perkins
16 APRIL 2007

Lakoff And Johnson's Conceptual Metaphor

"To account for the specific properties of both linguistic and visual media, an innovative approach combining linguistic and art–historical perspectives was chosen. Principles of the theory of conceptual metaphor developed by Lakoff and Johnson (1980, 1999; Lakoff, 1987, 1990, 1993; Johnson 1987, 1992, Sweetser 1987, 1990) were applied to images of grammar, collected in the iconographic tradition founded by Aby Warburg and Erwin Panofsky (1955; 1979). Lakoff and Johnson (1980) state that "our ordinary conceptual system, in terms we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature" (p. 3) and define the essence of metaphor as "understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another" (p. 5). They further posit that "meaning and value are grounded in the nature of our bodies and brains, and in our physical, social, and cultural environments" (Johnson 1992:346) and place the bodily, or sensorial perception in the centre of their theory claiming that embodied image–schemas conceptualize our experience at a non–propositional level (Johnson 1992:349). This study is based on the assumption that these image–schemas underlie both linguistic and pictorial expressions, and that our perceptual system and image–based reasoning is grounded not only in direct experience, but also conditioned by indirect experience mediated through cultural artifacts such as printed words and pictures.[1]

Johnson, Mark (1987): The Body in the Mind. The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason, Chicago.
Johnson, Mark (1992): ?Philosophical implications of cognitive semantics.?, in: Cognitive Linguistics, 3, 345–366.
Lakoff, George (1987): Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. What Categories reveal about the Mind, Chicago.
Lakoff, George (1990): ?The Invariance Hypothesis: ?Is abstract Reason based on Image–Schema???, in: Cognitive Linguistics, 1–1, 39–74.
Lakoff, George (1993): ?The contemporary theory of metaphor?, in: Ortony, Andrew (ed.), Metaphor and Thought. 2nd. ed., Cambridge, 202–251.
Lakoff, George/Johnson, Mark (1980): Metaphors we live by, Chicago.
Lakoff, George/Johnson, Mark (1999): Philosophy in the Flesh. The embodied mind and its challenge to western thought, New York.
Panofsky, Erwin (1955): Meaning in the Visual Arts, New York.
Panofsky, Erwin (1979): ?Zum Problem der Beschreibung und Inhaltsdeutung von Werken der bildenden Kunst?, in: Kaemmerling, Ekkehard (ed.): Bildende Kunst als Zeichensystem. Ikonographie und Ikonologie. Theorien–Entwicklung–Probleme, K?ln, 185–206.
Sweetser, Eve (1987): ?Metaphorical Models of Thought and Speech: a comparison of historical directions and metaphorical mappings in the two domains?, in: Aske, Jon/Beery, Natasha/Michaelis, Laura/Filip, Hana (edd.): Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, Berkeley, 446–459.
Sweetser, Eve (1990): From Etymology to Pragmatics: Metaphorical and Cultural Aspects of Semantic Structure, Cambridge."
(Irene Mittelberg)



Aby Warburgconceptual metaphor • conceptual system • cultural codes • cultural environments • experienceGeorge Lakoffgrammariconography • image-based reasoning • image-schemalinguisticMark Johnsonmeaningmediationmetaphor • Mittelberg • mnemonicMnemosyne Atlas • Panofsky • perceptual system • sensorial perception • Sweetser • visual media
16 APRIL 2007

A Dual Strategy: reading both annotations and their texts

"This reveals a dual strategy: firstly, we are not 'reading' a text through its main text only, but more through its periphery and specific textures like the notes apparatus, the selection of pictures, the quotations and references, the imprint, the binding or context for an essay etc. Academic texts present this subtext and context apparatus very consciously. The second part of the strategy is that the index, relieved of its referential quality, has now become the main text.

These artists 'liberate' images (Peter Piller) and words (Douglas Blau) from their original indexicality of reference to an original system, so that they can be re–ordered and opened up to a new way of reading. The generative quality of the text apparatuses and the logic of the library (as a store for all reference structures), make the archive into a producer and into an archive of potential texts. Text and image are not just placed in the archive as an 'Akte' (document) but become 'Akteure' (actors) in their own right. It is misleading to talk about a knowledge store when in fact we are dealing with a knowledge generator."

(Rudolf Frieling, Media Art Net)


12 APRIL 2005

Mnemosyne-Atlas: Visual Clustering Through Good Company

"[Aby Warburg's Mnemosyne–Atlas] is fundamentally [an] attempt to combine the philosophical with the image–historical approach [of information organisation]. Attached on wooden boards covered with black cloth are photographs of images, reproductions from books, and visual materials from newspapers and/or daily life, which Warburg arranges in such a way that they illustrate one or several thematic areas. ... [Images in the atlas are] not ordered according to visual similarity, evident in the sense of an iconographic history of style; but rather through relationships caused by an affinity for one another and the principle of good company, which let themselves be reconstructed through the study of texts."
(Rudolf Frieling, Media Art Net)



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