In his book Media Transformations Lars Elleström asks two questions that intermediality studies seek to answer. First, “How can different types of media be understood, analyzed, and compared in terms of the combination and integration of fundamental media traits?” And second, “How can transfer and transformation of media characteristic be comprehended and described adequately?” To these questions, this panel will add a third: how can the combination and transformation of media traits contribute to the development of new artistic and cultural practices?
Intermediality is the phenomenon by which one medium takes on or is integrated with the characteristics of another, situating it between sense modalities and modes of understanding. Therefore, it complicates how each of the constituent media are to be approached and interpreted. In this way, every instance of intermediality—whether in Medieval liturgical music, Renaissance emblem poetry, or contemporary performance art—demands a renewed reading practice, one that accounts for co-constituting forms of meaning-making. Intermediality functions as a site in which different media take up the aesthetic features and semiotic operations of one another in order to challenge and exceed their individual capacities. It is, in effect, a centuries-old strategy for “making it new.”
This panel invites 300-word proposals across genre, time period, and nationality in order to investigate how the relations between the arts have been explored and exploited toward modernizing them. The goal is to orient the study of intermediality away from its treatment as a peripheral phenomenon occurring on the margins of overlapping arts and toward understanding these interdisciplinary interactions as major components in emergent artistic practices. Literary, visual, and performance works that combine, integrate, or transform media traits will aid in understanding how the media ecology is a space that potentiates co-operations and co-evolutions.
Patrick Milian (Panel Chair and Organizer)
University of Washington