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A Multisensory Approach to Rock Art : Exploring Tactile and Visual Dimensions in the Southern Scandinavian Rock Art Tradition

Skoglund, Peter ; Persson, Tomas LU and Cabak Rédei, Anna LU (2020) In Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 86. p.95-110
Abstract
This paper discusses rock art in southern Scandinavia as a multisensory format, where both sight and touch would have contributed to the comprehension of the images. From a structural semiotic point of view, we suggest that rock art can be construed as an organised set of features, such as visual and tactile elements, organised into heterogeneous unities with dynamic relations between elements that can change over time with respect to how they are experienced. We argue that in order to understand the rock art medium, it is crucial to take into consideration the multisensory interaction between the perceiver and the qualities of the rock art surface. The reason for including tactile elements in our interpretation of the conception of rock... (More)
This paper discusses rock art in southern Scandinavia as a multisensory format, where both sight and touch would have contributed to the comprehension of the images. From a structural semiotic point of view, we suggest that rock art can be construed as an organised set of features, such as visual and tactile elements, organised into heterogeneous unities with dynamic relations between elements that can change over time with respect to how they are experienced. We argue that in order to understand the rock art medium, it is crucial to take into consideration the multisensory interaction between the perceiver and the qualities of the rock art surface. The reason for including tactile elements in our interpretation of the conception of rock art is the way it was created: by hands interacting with tools and rock surfaces, as well as the spontaneous human tendency to explore the physical world through touch. One can identify key features in the images that would arguably facilitate tactile recognition, as well as be better explained from a multisensorial perspective. This includes the position of the images on horizontal outcrops, the moderate size of the images, the application of an orthographic perspective, the use of ‘tactile markers’ (ie crucial features having a strategic function for understanding images by touch), and the occurrence of incomplete images. A multisensorial perspective on rock art furthermore has semiotic implications. Incomplete images, for example, can be understood as indexical stand-ins for the whole imagined picture, ie as iconic indices. A multisensorial approach to Scandinavian rock art thus allows for new explanations for certain design choices, as well as a new understanding of how the images could relay meaning to a perceiver. (Less)
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author
; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
: multisensory, rock art, southern Scandinavia, tactile images, semiotics
in
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
volume
86
pages
16 pages
publisher
Prehistoric Society
external identifiers
  • scopus:85098527073
ISSN
0079-497X
DOI
10.1017/ppr.2020.1
project
Storytelling in Rock Art
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3936ba73-3727-4b05-bdec-9e5ac6825385
date added to LUP
2020-04-15 13:03:49
date last changed
2021-03-09 14:40:45
@article{3936ba73-3727-4b05-bdec-9e5ac6825385,
  abstract     = {This paper discusses rock art in southern Scandinavia as a multisensory format, where both sight and touch would have contributed to the comprehension of the images. From a structural semiotic point of view, we suggest that rock art can be construed as an organised set of features, such as visual and tactile elements, organised into heterogeneous unities with dynamic relations between elements that can change over time with respect to how they are experienced. We argue that in order to understand the rock art medium, it is crucial to take into consideration the multisensory interaction between the perceiver and the qualities of the rock art surface. The reason for including tactile elements in our interpretation of the conception of rock art is the way it was created: by hands interacting with tools and rock surfaces, as well as the spontaneous human tendency to explore the physical world through touch. One can identify key features in the images that would arguably facilitate tactile recognition, as well as be better explained from a multisensorial perspective. This includes the position of the images on horizontal outcrops, the moderate size of the images, the application of an orthographic perspective, the use of ‘tactile markers’ (ie crucial features having a strategic function for understanding images by touch), and the occurrence of incomplete images. A multisensorial perspective on rock art furthermore has semiotic implications. Incomplete images, for example, can be understood as indexical stand-ins for the whole imagined picture, ie as iconic indices. A multisensorial approach to Scandinavian rock art thus allows for new explanations for certain design choices, as well as a new understanding of how the images could relay meaning to a perceiver.},
  author       = {Skoglund, Peter and Persson, Tomas and Cabak Rédei, Anna},
  issn         = {0079-497X},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {95--110},
  publisher    = {Prehistoric Society},
  series       = {Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society},
  title        = {A Multisensory Approach to Rock Art : Exploring Tactile and Visual Dimensions in the Southern Scandinavian Rock Art Tradition},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/ppr.2020.1},
  doi          = {10.1017/ppr.2020.1},
  volume       = {86},
  year         = {2020},
}