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A New Look on Ekphrasis : an Eye-tracking Experiment on a Cinematic Example

Cariboni Killander, Carla LU ; Lutas, Liviu LU and Strukelj, Alexander LU (2014) In Ekphrasis. Images, Cinema, Theatre. Media 12(2). p.10-31
Abstract
Taking the modern definition of ekphrasis as a verbal representation of a work of art as a starting point, we try to broaden it in this contribution. We agree with intermediality theorist Lars Elleström that ekphrasis falls into the category of “media representation”, defined as the representation of a source medium in a target medium. We argue that the target medium does not need to be a verbal one and what matters is the energeia, the vividness of the description, leading in turn to enargeia, a vivid image in the mind of the receiver. The energeia-enargeia relation is an aspect that is often neglected in modern theoretical debates about ekphrasis. We believe that there cannot be ekphrasis without a description making the receiver “see”... (More)
Taking the modern definition of ekphrasis as a verbal representation of a work of art as a starting point, we try to broaden it in this contribution. We agree with intermediality theorist Lars Elleström that ekphrasis falls into the category of “media representation”, defined as the representation of a source medium in a target medium. We argue that the target medium does not need to be a verbal one and what matters is the energeia, the vividness of the description, leading in turn to enargeia, a vivid image in the mind of the receiver. The energeia-enargeia relation is an aspect that is often neglected in modern theoretical debates about ekphrasis. We believe that there cannot be ekphrasis without a description making the receiver “see” the object with his/her inner eye. At the same time, following Seymour Chatman and Werner Wolf, we argue that description is not a prerogative of the verbal medium and that even the cinematic medium can describe, using different strategies.

In the second part of this contribution, these hypotheses are tested empirically with the help of the eye-tracking technique. A short sequence of Christian Petzold’s film Barbara (2012), which constitutes an example of cinematic ekphrasis, is shown to thirty-three participants. The evidence gathered from the recording of their eye-movements confirms the relevance of the energeia-enargeia relation: the eye activity increases at some particular points of the sequence, points corresponding to the descriptive activity of the camera. Ekphrasis is thus a kind of embodied experience. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Ekphrasis, enargeia, cinema, Barbara, media representation, intermediality, description
in
Ekphrasis. Images, Cinema, Theatre. Media
volume
12
issue
2
pages
10 - 31
publisher
Cluj University Press
ISSN
2067-631X
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
36e33c46-95f1-430c-911c-f9e1c3a54bee (old id 4857529)
date added to LUP
2014-12-08 12:29:39
date last changed
2016-04-15 23:50:31
@article{36e33c46-95f1-430c-911c-f9e1c3a54bee,
  abstract     = {Taking the modern definition of ekphrasis as a verbal representation of a work of art as a starting point, we try to broaden it in this contribution. We agree with intermediality theorist Lars Elleström that ekphrasis falls into the category of “media representation”, defined as the representation of a source medium in a target medium. We argue that the target medium does not need to be a verbal one and what matters is the energeia, the vividness of the description, leading in turn to enargeia, a vivid image in the mind of the receiver. The energeia-enargeia relation is an aspect that is often neglected in modern theoretical debates about ekphrasis. We believe that there cannot be ekphrasis without a description making the receiver “see” the object with his/her inner eye. At the same time, following Seymour Chatman and Werner Wolf, we argue that description is not a prerogative of the verbal medium and that even the cinematic medium can describe, using different strategies.<br/><br>
In the second part of this contribution, these hypotheses are tested empirically with the help of the eye-tracking technique. A short sequence of Christian Petzold’s film Barbara (2012), which constitutes an example of cinematic ekphrasis, is shown to thirty-three participants. The evidence gathered from the recording of their eye-movements confirms the relevance of the energeia-enargeia relation: the eye activity increases at some particular points of the sequence, points corresponding to the descriptive activity of the camera. Ekphrasis is thus a kind of embodied experience.},
  author       = {Cariboni Killander, Carla and Lutas, Liviu and Strukelj, Alexander},
  issn         = {2067-631X},
  keyword      = {Ekphrasis,enargeia,cinema,Barbara,media representation,intermediality,description},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {10--31},
  publisher    = {Cluj University Press},
  series       = {Ekphrasis. Images, Cinema, Theatre. Media},
  title        = {A New Look on Ekphrasis : an Eye-tracking Experiment on a Cinematic Example},
  volume       = {12},
  year         = {2014},
}