Digital Ekphrasis: Through the Digital

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In the light of the digital influence of literature and art, my paper focuses on a rather small topic that is traditionally strongly placed in the aesthetics of the interart and intermedia discourse, namely ekphrasis. Whereas the conventional discourse outlines ekphrasis as a “verbal representation of a visual representation” (Hefferan 1993, p. 3) to call attention to poems describing paintings, my research steps beyond this referential definition with its insistence on closed spaces and self-sufficient artworks.
Developing Cecilia Lindhé’s seminal essay on digital ekphrasis, I investigate the rhetorical trope ekphrasis in the context of mediating forces that enhance e/affective experiences of the human body. Thereby, a digital environment might extend and enhance the performative communication in a processual engagement with the world. When deconstructing the traditional conflict between word and image, ekphrasis can be reconsidered even beyond the material and cognitive frame of museum art. Recalling the intra-subjective forces enargeia and energeia, ekphrasis as rhetorical trope shall be revived as an empowering practice of performance and performativity in- and outside the digital realm. Favourably, this ancient concept can be linked to Deleuze’s treatment of art. Rather than making the humans to the intentional interpreter in a rhetorical communication, I reconsider ekphrasis within a more systemic model of human-nonhuman relations, modelled upon Karen Barad ‘s concept of ‘intra-action’. By so doing, I track the breaking point and the discontinuities of the conventional interart concept of ekphrasis as a form of remediation, adaption or transmediation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationR/D/D C(ONFERENCE)
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cultural Studies


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