Abstract - Affective – Multimodal: Interaction between Medium and Perception of Moving Images from the Viewpoint of Cassirer's, Langer's and Krois' Embodiment Theories

In Multimodality. The Sensually Organized Potential of Artistic Works, edited by Martina Sauer and Christiane Wagner, New York and São Paulo [Special Issue, Art Style 10, 01, 2022]. pp. 25-46 (2022)
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Abstract

Everyday media consumption leaves no doubt that the perception of moving images from various media is characterized by experience and understanding. Corresponding research in this field has shown that the stimulus patterns flooding in on us are not only processed mentally, but also bodily. Building on this, the following study argues that incoming stimuli are processed not only visually, but multimodally, with all senses, and moreover affectively. The classical binding of a sensory organ to a medium, on whose delimitation the common understanding of multimodality is based, is thus abolished. Can arguments for this assumption be found? Building on the research of cultural anthropologist Ernst Cassirer and his successors, the two American philosophers Susanne K. Langer and John M. Krois, and supported by research from the life sciences in which, in parallel, the arts also play an important role in understanding image formation, as in the work of Heinz Werner and, following on from this, in the more recent research of the child psychologist Daniel N. Stern in collaboration with mirror neuron research by the group of neuroscientists around Giacomo Rizzolatti in Parma, justifications for this will be provided. What the multimodal processing of film images is concretely based on will finally be made clear by means of an exemplary analysis of a video film by the Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist. It aims to prove, that the prerequisites for the thesis can only lie in the fact, that both the modes of perception (visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory, gustatory) as well as the medially conditioned modes of image formation are based on non-discursive, formal-abstract structures that are also processed affectively. At the same time, the analysis thus shows how the selection and composition of the vital experienced forms can provide information about the socio-culturally shaped self-image of the producer and the viewer.

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Martina Sauer
Institute for Image and Cultural Philosophy

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