[ISEA2011] Panel: Bir­git Mers­mann – Sen­so­r­ial Transcod­ing: Hy­per­modal Con­fig­u­ra­tions of Per­cep­tion and Ex­pres­sion in Elec­tronic Art

Panel Statement

Panel:  Interart / Intersensorium. On the Interrelation of Media and the Senses

The novel trans­me­dial as me­dia-trans­gress­ing qual­ity of elec­tronic in­ter­art forms is rec­i­p­ro­cally re­lated to their grow­ing mul­ti­modal po­tency. As Brian Mas­sumi has high­lighted when re­flect­ing on the sit­u­a­tion of media in cri­sis, “the dig­i­tal isn’t a medium. (…) Dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy is an ex­pand­ing net­work of con­nec­tive and fu­sional po­ten­tial. You can take an input in any sense modal­ity, and trans­late or trans­duce it into an­other.” (Mas­sumi 2008) Draw­ing upon this trans­me­dia ap­proach, the paper stud­ies inter/ac­tions of sen­so­r­ial transcod­ing as fun­da­men­tal con­di­tion of dig­i­tal­ity. On the basis of con­tem­po­rary elec­tronic art by artists from dif­fer­ent cul­tural back­grounds (among them Golan Levin, Hung Keung, Kim Kichul), it will in­ves­ti­gate the si­mul­ta­ne­ous trans­la­tions and mu­tual tran­si­tions be­tween sen­sory per­cep­tions and ex­pres­sions on dif­fer­ent modal com­plex­ity lev­els such as speak­ing and writ­ing, lis­ten­ing and read­ing, sound­ing and hear­ing, vi­su­al­iz­ing and view­ing, touch­ing and sens­ing. The pur­pose of this sen­so­r­ial transcod­ing analy­sis is three­fold:

  1. to pon­der how a new the­ory of dig­i­tal synaes­thet­ics can be built on the cat­e­gory and con­cept of hy­per­modal­ity,
  2. to ex­plore the con­nec­tiv­ity mode be­tween dig­i­tal ab­strac­tion and dig­i­tal em­bod­i­ment, and
  3. to dis­cern the uni­ver­sal and cul­ture-de­ter­mined com­po­nents of the cod­i­fi­ca­tion of (multi)sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence.
  • Bir­git Mers­mann holds a pro­fes­sor­ship in non-West­ern and Eu­ro­pean Art at the in­ter­na­tional Ja­cobs Uni­ver­sity in Bre­men, Germany, since 2008. From 2005 to 2007 she was a se­nior re­searcher of the Na­tional Com­pe­tence Cen­tre of Re­search “Iconic Crit­i­cism” at the Uni­ver­sity of Basel, Switzer­land, in­ves­ti­gat­ing “icono­scrip­tures” as hy­brid sym­bolic forms and in­ter-me­dia ex­pres­sions be­tween image and writ­ing. From 1998 to 2002 she taught as DAAD (Ger­man Aca­d­e­mic Ex­change Ser­vice) Vis­it­ing Pro­fes­sor at the de­part­ment of Ger­man lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture at Seoul Na­tional Uni­ver­sity in South Korea. Re­search foci in­clude image and media the­ory, vi­su­al­ity and nar­ra­tion, art the­ory and aes­thet­ics, con­tem­po­rary East Asian and West­ern art, global art his­tory, tran­scul­tur­al­ity, trans­la­tion stud­ies, in­ter­re­la­tions be­tween script and image.
    Last pub­li­ca­tions: B.M., Alexan­dra Schnei­der (Eds.): Trans­mis­sion Image. Vi­sual Trans­la­tion and Cul­tural Agency, Cam­bridge: Cam­bridge Schol­ars Pub­lish­ing, 2009; B.M., Thomas Weber (Eds.): Medi­olo­gie als Meth­ode, Berlin: Avi­nus, 2008; Got­tfried Boehm, B.M., Chris­t­ian Spies (Eds.): Movens Bild. Zwis­chen Af­fekt und Ev­i­denz, München: Fink, 2008; B.M., Das Bild als Spur. Trans­gres­sio­nen und An­i­ma­tio­nen, in: Hans Belt­ing (Ed.): Bild­fra­gen. Die Bild­wis­senschaften im Auf­bruch, München, 2007; B.M./Mar­tin Schulz (Ed.): Kul­turen des Bildes, München: Fink, 2006; B.M., Bild­kul­tur­wis­senschaft als Kul­tur­bild­wis­senschaft? Von der Notwendigkeit eines in­ter- und tran­skul­turellen Iconic Turn, in: Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und all­ge­meine Kunst­wissenschaft, Heft 49/1, Ham­burg 2004.