den Zuhörer zum Zuschauer zu machen

I have been writing art criticism for many years, but today my interest for:

are mainly connected to my fictional writing (my two ways of writing are not (cannot be?) unrelated). I’m trying to find a way to transfer/transmit the emotional experiences of places in as few words as absolute possible/necessary. My fictional genre has (up till now) been prose, but I’m really slipping on the borderline to poetry here. I have to let the text choose its way.

I found this clear and concise definition of ekphrasis on the German Wikipedia today:

Unter Ekphrase oder Ekphrasis (griechisch ἔκ-φρασις: „Beschreibung“, lat. descriptio; Plural: Ekphraseis) versteht man die literarische Beschreibung eines Werks der bildenden Kunst, auch auf andere Bildwerke wie Skulpturen oder Reliefs bezogen. Im weiteren Sinne bezeichnet Ekphrasis eine literarische bzw. rhetorische Form, durch welche etwas sehr anschaulich und bildlich beschrieben oder geschildert wird.

Der Grad der Anschaulichkeit unterscheidet die Ekphrasis dabei vom sachlichen Bericht. Es handelt sich um eine literarische Visualisierungsstrategie: Die Ekphrase versucht, den „Zuhörer zum Zuschauer zu machen“  und eine quasi synästhetische, ganzheitliche Erfahrung zu suggerieren. Sie steht damit im Spannungsfeld zwischen Betrachtung und Ästhetik.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. KM Huber says:

    As I understand ekphrasis, it is a literary visualization, a holistic experience of the “tension” between audience experience and artist creation. Ekphrasis is a term new to me, and I appreciate knowing of it. Want to think about it a bit.

    The idea of being so specific we imply the universe has always intrigued me. To me, poetry is the language art that does this best. Perhaps you will provide us with some of your work? I hope so.

    And again, thanks for ekphrasis.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Thank you Karen!
      For me to see what you have seen, or feel what you have felt or rather – feel what you have seen, that puts a great demand on your writing, doesn’t it?

      For my own part: I’m exploring new territories here, it gives me feelings of excitement and awe. I’ve given myself three years to see if this territory can offer places & spaces where I can thrive – for now its all about seeing, sensing, being.

  2. Harold Rhenisch says:

    Beware those beautiful Germans and their extra-fine distinctions between one state and another. But, still, think of it as a joke between Schroedinger and Heisenberg. “There’s a box, a cat, and a poisonous isotope…” It’s like that. If it makes the Zuhörer into a Zuschauer, it can go the other way, too. That’s the thing to remember. And there’s another level of uncertainty, that Wikipedia might have missed: what is zugeschaut and what is zugehört? Perhaps not what one might immediately expect. That’s how it goes. That’s how art goes. Since you’re wandering into poetic territory (welcome, hurray), that’s a good place to start, with changeovers of spiritual or psychic states. Forgive me, but my 3 week long wine research tour devolved over the last two days into pages and pages and pages of meditations on Schroedinger’s joke and the uncertainty principle, all mixed up with the bends and curves of the Mosel. Best, Harold

    1. Sigrun says:

      I’ll try to approach it all in a calm and mindful way …!

  3. dianajhale says:

    Wow this is interesting – I have been writing about ‘place’ and know ‘genius loci’ but ‘ekphrasis’ (and locus ameunus) is new to me too. I don’t know any German but I guess I can translate that on Google somehow?

    1. Sigrun says:

      Zuhörer zum Zuschauer zu machen: would be something like “making the listener into a spectator” – .

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