“Media res” or “media in res”, meaning into the middle of things, is a Latin phrase concerning a narrative technique in which the story (image and/or text) begins most of the times in the mid-point in which the narrative reaches its most critical point.
In his book “Ars Poetica” (The Art of Poetry) Horace ( Quintus Horatius Flaccus, Rome 65 – 8BC) used the terms “ab ovo” (from the egg) and “in media res” when he was describing the ideal epic poet: “Nor does he begin the Trojan War from the egg, but always he hurries to the action, and snatches the listener into the middle of things. ..” By the term “from the egg” Horace referred to the myth of Leda who, as a swan, gave birth to Helen of Troy from an egg that she kept in her chest until it hatched. Undoubtedly the “egg” as well as the series of Leda’s metamorphoses are conceptual equipments that governed the entire imaginative sphere of that time.
Antiquity imagery captured a moment in media res in which all phenomena whose nature is suddenly to break out, departure and arrive again, simultaneously, in another mental stage, performing as a unified composition in an unconditional and unchanging duration.
This operation, similar to a gestalt effect, seems to be profound and flexible enough to meet out recent ICT’s imagery strategies. Even if it has suffered scant attention and discontinuity from Renaissance’s and Enlightenment’s axioms such as rationalism and realism, it reappears in recent imagery practices like virtual, telematic and immersive artistic techniques.
- Katerina Karoussos, Greece,is an artist and researcher. Her research is based on the convergence of old and new media and especially between Byzantine and new media visual practices. From 1994 to 2003 she was the director and a co-founder of the Hellenic Center of Fine & Applied Arts. From 2004 since 2010 she was working at The Athens School of Fine Arts as a free lancer at the Fresco studio. She holds a Master of Arts from Middlesex University. From 2009, Karoussos is a member of Planetary Collegium (CAiiA) as a PhD Candidate under the supervision of Pr. Roy Ascott. She has participated in many international conferences (ISEA, Aber, Dimea, Consciousness Reframes Series etc). Apart from her work as a Byzantine mural painter at Orthodox churches her work has been exhibited in various international media exhibitions (Athens, Japan, Madrid, New York, Frankfurt, Montenegro, Cuba etc)
Full text (PDF) p. 1323-1328 [somewhat different title]