MIMESIS Munich Doctoral Program for Literature and the Arts

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Area B: Interart Relations – Transmedial Perspectives

Research area B explores and opens up the wider spectrum of the art forms and thus enables doctoral candidates to enter into the dialogic and collaborative interactions with their peers from other disciplines that form the multivalent research network of the International Doctoral Program MIMESIS. Before art became available as an integrative term for the various modes of human creativity, aesthetic speculation and discussion could only take place through a mediating principle, a third term such as mimesis to negotiate these various engagements. Even though much modern art may be “ashamed of apparition” (Adorno), it can never fully shed appearance nor can it dismiss mimesis as its own productive principle. The very act of forming or perceiving patterns, of producing or detecting structure by means of recurrent elements takes place through repetition, i.e. by means of an internal or auto-mimesis that attends not to some given model elsewhere, but to its own material, modelling itself on itself.

With regard to interart relations and transmedial perspectives throughout Western cultural history, two contrary ideas prevail. The various forms and disciplines of art activity are either placed in the antagonistic pattern of a paragone or in the relational pattern of a family resemblance that is said to connect them, most famously in the notion of the “sister arts” which links poetry and painting. Rivalry, based on mimetic principles, has generally become relevant when interart relations are at stake, as in the rhetoric of ekphrasis. Whatever may be held, among the languages of art, to be specific, singular or typical for any one of them, can in fact only be established in transmedial perspectives.