A core topic of the year’s work, related to the film-theoretical topos of cinematic thinking, concerns the question of whether processes of metaphorizing, their theoretical conceptualization and their analysis, are appropriate for describing forms of cinematic thinking. We research this question through an examination of various forms of filmic expressivity. Specifically we are investigating if and, if yes, how metaphorical meaning is generated in the interaction between film image and spectators, and how films unfold as genuine cinematic metaphoricity. Sergei Eisenstein ties this topos to metaphor as a kind of cinematic thinking that modulates perception, and, in doing so, inseparably links symbolic forms to affective dynamics.
Debates on metaphor theories and metaphorology have been the starting point of research in the Center for Advanced Film Studies Cinepoetics in its first year (2015-2016), building on our previous research on multimodal metaphor and cinematic expressive movement, in which dynamic models of metaphor from linguistics and cognitive theory took center stage. The focus now is on the relation between processes of metaphorizing and cinematic thinking. Can the appropriation of film images, the poiesis of viewing films, be unlocked in a similar way as, for instance, the dynamics of a verbal conflict is revealed by uncovering shared and not-shared metaphors in discourse?
We assume that cinematic thinking cannot be understood through an analysis of represented content, but that that ‘content’ is constituted in the concrete interaction between film images and spectators. Therefore, we address metaphor as metaphorizing, or as emergent metaphoricity, an interactive process in which the very relations that generate meaning are themselves created. We consider dynamic models of metaphoric meaning-making as approaches which can offer insights into the processes of cinematic thinking.
Metaphoricity is addressed here as the dynamic of bringing different forms of experience, no matter what their provenance, into interaction. In conversational situations, for example, metaphoricity emerges out of communal creation of meanings by each party (Lynne Cameron). In film viewing, we explore how metaphoricity emerges out of the interaction of film images and spectators.
The program of the academic year 2015/16 pursues a transdisciplinary perspective between film studies and linguistic metaphor research. Cornelia Müller, invited by Hermann Kappelhoff and Michael Wedel, is jointly developing and hosting the program. The idea was to bring to film studies the perspective of linguistic (cognitive and discourse) metaphor studies and to invite metaphor scholars from linguistics and the psychology of metaphor to discuss with film scholars how metaphors work in cinematic thinking. This inspired the invitation of a group of fellows from applied linguistics and art, cognitive linguistics, gesture studies, literature, film and media studies, philosophy, and psychology.
Lynne Cameron (The Open University, UK), Alan Cienki (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam & MSLU Moscow), Raymond W. Gibbs Jr. (University of California, Santa Cruz) and Cornelia Müller (European University Viadrina Frankfurt, Oder), founding members of the Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM), are currently visiting. Their dynamic, multimodal and embodied perspectives on metaphor resonate with the theoretical perspectives on cinematic thinking. Further guests include Irene MIttelberg (RWTH Aachen), Warren Buckland (Oxford Brookes University), Oliver Lubrich (Universität Bern), Kathrin Fahlenbrach (Universität Hamburg), Naum Kleiman (Moscow), Anne Eusterschulte (Freie Universität Berlin), and Petra Gehring (Technische Universität Darmstadt).
The work of Cinepoetics in its ‘Metaphor’ year involves a range of different formats for collaborative research with fellows:
By hosting for the first time the RaAM conference with a focus on “Metaphor in the Arts in Media and Communication”, the Cinepoetics program 2015-16 includes the dissemination of a film studies perspective on metaphor to an international community of applied metaphor researchers. Invited plenaries address a media aesthetics of metaphor from the perspective of cognitive semiotics (Irene Mittelberg, RWTH Aachen), philosophy (Petra Gehring, Technische Universität Darmstadt), film studies (Jennifer Barker, Georgia State University), and architecture (José Mario Gutierrez Marquez, Bauhaus Universität Weimar). At a Cinepoetics round table the group presents its work in collaboration with an exhibition by artist in residence and professor emerita Lynne Cameron to the audience of the conference. A pre-conference methods workshop “How meaning becomes graspable” addressing multimodal metaphors from a film studies, cognitive linguistic and gesture studies point of view is being held at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder).
The collaborative research enterprise of this first year will lead to a book entitled “Cinematic Metaphor”, written by Hermann Kappelhoff, Cornelia Müller, Sarah Greifenstein, Dorothea Horst, Thomas Scherer, Christina Schmitt, and including contributions by Lynne Cameron, Raymond Gibbs, and Michael Wedel.