Moving Images 2017: Mediality – Multimodality – Materiality: Concepts for Media and Image Studies in the Era of the »Technosphere«. Bilingual Conference on Moving Image Sciences in Kiel, Germany, 4th to 6th May 2017

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Date(s): 04. May – 06. May
All Day

University of Applied Sciences Kiel, Germany


Moving Images 2017: Mediality – Multimodality – Materiality: Concepts for Media and Image Studies in the Era of the »Technosphere«. Bilingual Conference on Moving Image Sciences in Kiel, Germany, 4th to 6th May 2017.


Call for Papers

The evolution of media has yielded masses of interfaces and display technologies, which concede and force novel multimodal types of representation. To consider these technologies in the context of contemporary image studies, an updated appreciation of media images needs to be added to the traditional concept of images, which derived from art history. We have to comprehend more than visual representation and visual perception to fully understand the structures of moving images, because they do not only address our vision, they address – modal or a-modal – all of our senses (see Krois 2011: 207; Mitchell 2010: 42). This multimodal or multisensory understanding of images seems to be necessary to comprehend contemporary media technologies of interactive and digital moving images as well as future developments (see Hansen 2004: 10). Within this convergent media- and image-ecosystem, concepts like materiality, embodiment and agency became important in describing and analyzing the global formations and interactions of human and non-human elements, individuals and technological ensembles. Peter K. Haff describes this era of hybrid networks as »technosphere« (see Haff 2014: 127), trying to depict the dynamics of existing media ecologies. Therefore mediality, multimodality, and materiality can be used as fundamental concepts for a media- and image-theory of the »technosphere« – but there is a necessity to explore the sustainability, scope and interconnections of these interdisciplinary concepts.



Contemporary cinematographic apparatuses, interactive media, but especially technologies of augmented and virtual realities can be described as complex ensembles of interfaces and displays, whose specific materialities are inherent in their particular pictorial representations (see Krämer 2008: 27). Because images only exist dependent on a medium, on which or in which they appear. So, the artificial presence of media artefacts refers to a material foundation – a school of thought, which was shaped by authors like Harold Innis, Marshall McLuhan, Derrick De Kerckhove, Friedrich 2 Kittler, Dieter Mersch or Jussi Parikka etc. The paradigm of the material turn and especially the digital material/ism focusses on the technological materiality of media, because “(digital) technologies and their constituting elements exert agency, affect industries and individuals” (Reichert & Richterich 2015: 6). Therefore allegedly immaterial objects like software or digital images and their technological, social, institutional, and cultural conditions come into play. But materiality is not physicality, it is the precondition for the appearance of medial representations in a broader sense (Mersch 2010: 140-141). Here, the interplay of aesthesis and semiosis, which needs to be included in the analysis of analog images as well as digital images, unveils. Primarily it is about the integration of media technologies’ materiality into this interplay, because media’s material preconditions incorporate themselves into the images. Beside these basic thoughts, discussions about embodied interaction, extended, and embedded minds, image-instruments (see Manovich 2001: 167-168), (tangible) interfaces, materiality of gestures etc. can enrich the analysis of these phenomenon.



In the context of current interfaces and displays, and their ability to generate multimodal representations, it is important to conceive multimodality from the perspective of media and image studies. This phenomenon needs to be discussed from a phenomenological point of view as well as from a semiotic one, involving discourses like cognitive semiotics, perceptual psychology, and embodied cognition theory etc. The term mode or modality can be understood in two ways: as experienceable and describable sensory aspects of a medium, and as the semiotic aspects of meaning that is induced by a medium. These different dimensions are interconnected, so the (inter-)semiotic and (inter-)sensual connections affect the experience and understanding of images (see Merleau-Ponty 1974: 268; Singer 2004). This brings the relation between image, medium, and the body into play (see Hansen 2004: 10), again, and exemplifies the necessity to refer to current digital interactive and multisensory media to proper discuss the term ’image’. Therefore it is possible to point out to contemporary discussed concepts like presence or immersion, which need to be integrated in the debates on multimodality and multisensory perception.



Out of this structure of meaning, emerging from the relations between materiality and 3 multimodality, the paradigm of mediality can be derived. Mediality can be understood as the typical set of characteristics, constituting particular media (see Hickethier 2003: 26). Depending on the dynamics of material formations of media, the theoretical determination of technological images and moving images is heavily related to mediality. At this point it seems to be interesting and necessary to investigate concepts like inter- and trans-mediality from the perspective of image studies. So, the question about the structure of images is connected with the question about the specifics of technological media, on which or in which images appear.


Summarizing, the conference focusses on historic and contemporary phenomena of moving images – from proto-cinematographic apparatuses to digital media, like technologies of virtual or mixed realities. Mediality, multimodality, and materiality provide key concepts for interdisciplinary approaches to describe the image technologies of the »technosphere«. So, the conference addresses – but is not limited to – the following questions:

– What are the differences in mediality, multimodality, and materiality of historic and contemporary (moving) images?

– How are aesthesis, semiosis and materiality related?

– How is the materiality of the body related to interactive images?

– What is a multimodal or multisensory image?

– How can we analyze the multimodality of aesthetic and semiotic processes in image perception?

– How can we describe the interconnection of image and medium?

– How can we use the concepts of inter- and trans-mediality from the perspective of image studies to understand images?


Long abstracts for talks or workshops should be 600 to 900 words in length. All talks will be 30 minutes in duration plus Q&A time; workshops will be 120 minutes in duration. Please send the title of your submission, a brief biographical information and contact details per email via The deadline is the 3rd October 2016. Submissions will be reviewed, applying following criteria: relevance of the topic, theoretical foundation, quality of the presentation, clarity of data, adequacy of the used method(s), and matching to the overall conference program. Workshop submissions should additionally include information about the proposed structure. The conference languages are German and English. For further questions please feel free to contact Lars C. Grabbe and Patrick Rupert-Kruse. The conference will take place on the campus of the University of Applied Sciences in Kiel. Current information about the conference are available at:



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Haff, Peter K. (2014): Humans and technology in the Anthropocene: Six rules. In: The Anthropocene Review, August 2014. S. 126-136.

Hansen, Mark B. N. (2004): New Philosophy for New Media. Cambridge, MA & London: The MIT Press.

Hickethier, Knut (2003): Einführung in die Medienwissenschaft. Stuttgart. J.B. Metzler. Krämer, Sybille (2008): Medium, Bote, Übertragung. Kleine Metaphysik der Medialität. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp.

Krois, John Michael (2011): Image Science and Embodiment, or: Peirce as Image Scientist. In: John M. Krois: Bildkörper und Körperschema. Herausgegeben von Horst Bredekamp und Marion Lauschke. Berlin: Akademie Verlag. S. 194-209.

Manovich, Lev (2001): The Language of New Media. Cambridge, MA & London: The MIT Press.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice (1974): Phänomenologie der Wahrnehmung, 6. Auflage. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Mersch, Dieter (2002): Was sich zeigt. Materialität, Präsenz, Ereignis. München: Fink.

Mersch, Dieter (2010): Posthermeneutik. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.

Nake, Frieder (1989): Künstliche Kunst. In der Welt der Berechenbarkeit. In: Kunstforum. Ästhetik des Immateriellen. Teil II. Bd. 98, Januar/Februar 1998. S. 85-94.

Reichert, Ramón & Richterich, Annika (2015): Introduction. Digital Materialism. In: Digital Culture & Society, Vol. 1, Issue 1. Herausgegeben von ebd. Bielefeld: Transcript. S. 5-20.

Singer, Wolf (2004): Das Bild in uns – Vom Bild zur Wahrnehmung. In: Iconic Turn. Die neue Macht der Bilder. Herausgegeben von Christa Maar und Hubert Burda. S. 56-76.