Appel à communication : « Gestures in texts and the Visual Arts » (Dijon, 29-30 juin 2017)

michel-ange-adam-et-eve-chasses-du-paradis-vatican-chapelle-sixtineFollowing up on its exploration of intermediality and text-image relations, the Centre de Recherche Texte/Image/Langage of Université de Bourgogne-Franche-Comté is organizing a bilingual (French-English) international conference on the inscription of gestures in texts and the visual arts from the early modern period.

As part and parcel of the work of artists, craftsmen, writers and labourers, gestures combine an intention, technical skills, actualisation, thought in action as well as expenditure of energy. The variety of their meanings and functions offers promising perspectives in the field of interdisciplinary and intermedial studies. In The Pleasure in Drawing (2013), Jean-Luc Nancy construes the draughtsman’s gesture as “the essence and excellence” of gestures, whether they belong “to the dancer, the musician, or filmmaker”: “this gesture is above all what is most proper to a gesture: an immanent signifiance, in other words, without the sign taking off toward the signified, but a sense that is offered right at the body [à même le corps], right at a body that becomes less active, efficient, or operative than the body that gives itself over to a motion—to an emotion—that received it, coming from beyond its functional corporeality” (p. 39, transl. Philip Armstrong). Accordingly, the conference will focus on the inchoative and technical aspects of gestures in the genesis of a work, taking into account its fabrication as well as its representation. We will explore the contemporary theoretical and technical implications of gestures—rather than draw typologies or describe the semiotics of gestures since there already exists a substantial critical corpus in that field.

We invite abstracts (in English or French) that explore the following themes in this non-exhaustive list:

– The conference will specifically examine the role, treatment and inscription of gestures in artistic and literary practices as well as in aesthetic discourse. We welcome state-of-the-art research in the field of intermedial studies as well as explorations of recent technological applications such as digital productions or augmented reality.

– Beyond the mere recording of movement, we wish to address the transcription of gestures in texts and still or moving images, which may encompass discussions of the aesthetics of notation systems or of ekphrasis. Papers may explore how artistic and poetical works engage with (actual or imaginary) gestures, and in doing so, partake in the interdisciplinary cultural practice of performance art. This may entail an analysis of the relation between gestural writings/images and the aesthetics of reception. Of equal interest is how a poetics of gesture may be defined as it is enacted in artists’ and writers’ performances.

– We also invite papers that tackle the interaction of gestures and tools/instruments in the fields of education, cognition, art and craft and in a variety of practices ranging from agricultural labour to music and dance. This may include innovative representations of technical and professional gestures, but also the recording of living gestures from an anthropological and ethnographic perspective.

– The suggested discussions above may tie in with analyses of symbolic systems. Therefore we will also welcome papers that deal with the figurative aspects of gestures insofar as they signify heroic or memorable actions (as they are recorded in chansons de geste), such as historic and political gestures along with their social, cultural and ideological dimension.

Please send a 300-word abstract (in French or in English) before 20th December 2016 to the following address:

Notification: 31st January 2017.
The programme will be finalised in March 2017.

Organizing committee: Sophie Aymes, Marie-Odile Bernez, Bénédicte Coste, Véronique Liard, Fiona McMahon, Christelle Serée-Chaussinand, Shannon Wells.

INTERFACES international conference Université de Bourgogne, 29 & 30 June 2017

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