To fasten words again to visible – and invisible – things

Catherine Gander, Sarah Garland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In this extended introductory essay, Catherine Gander and Sarah Garland suggest new ways of looking at the correspondences between visual and verbal practices to consider their material and conceptual connections in a specifically American set of histories, contexts and interpretive traditions. Tracing a lineage of experiential philosophy that is grounded in the overturning of a Cartesian mind/body split, the authors argue for pluralistic perspectives on intermedial innovations that situate embodied and imaginative reader-viewer response as vital to the life of the artwork. Gander and Garland chart two main strands to this approach: the pragmatist strain of American aesthetics and social politics, rooted in the essays of transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson and emanating from the writings of John Dewey and William James; and the conceptualist strain of French-American Marcel Duchamp, whose ground-breaking ideas both positioned the artwork as a phenomenological construction and liberated the artist from established methods of practice and discourse. The ‘imagetext’ (after W. J. T. Mitchell) is therefore, argue Gander and Garland, a site consisting of far more than word and image – but a living assemblage of language, idea, thing, cognition, affect and shared experience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMixed Messages: American Correspondences in Visual and Verbal Practices
EditorsCatherine Gander, Sarah Garland
PublisherManchester University Press
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2016


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