Symbolic Articulation. Language and Image between Action and Schema

The tendency to ignore the inextricable intertwining of the linguistic and pictorial use of signs – be it in political, scientific, artistic or everyday contexts - is as old and dangerous as the iconoclastic conception of images as false and treacherous, and as the condemnation of language as an imperfect and corrupted communicative tool. Countering these assumptions amounts to seeing both language and images as irreducible forms of world-appropriation, which spring from the ability to articulate meaning in a ceaseless interplay with the environment. As culturally transmitted techniques, they must be grasped diachronically. The production and understanding of signs require a common past. In their unpredictable semiotic potential, though, they confront us time and again with an almost disconcertingly open horizon. How language and images concern and affect us, how they mold our thoughts and actions and in which ways they foster creativity and prompt us to go beyond what we already know, are therefore questions that both demand a profound acquaintance with history and have to be constantly raised anew. The project investigates language and images as different forms of symbolic articulation: that is, the symbolic structuring of situations, processes and objects by way of sign actions. The overall objective is to formulate a theory of symbolic articulation which embraces language and image and to elaborate a new cultural-anthropological theory of man. Apart from several individual monographs, the expected project output is a publication about the theory of symbolic articulation jointly written by the four distinguished researchers.

Principal investigators
Bredekamp, Horst Prof. Dr. phil. (Details) (Medieval Visual Cultures)

Volkswagen-Stiftung (VW)

Duration of project
Start date: 06/2014
End date: 06/2018

Last updated on 2022-08-09 at 19:09