This set of papers aims to build a new epistemology of visual documents, articulated across three dimensions: the compositional dimension, which pertains to the figures and forms visualized within images; the mediatic dimension, which concerns the technical formats of images, their materiality, and their substrates; and, finally, the rhetorical dimension, pertaining to the public circulation of images, and in particular to acts of persuasion taking place within, through, and towards visual documents. This axis also aims to understand the new capabilities acquired by digital images, such as their spatialization in virtual and explorable environments in video games and virtual reality, as well as their analytical capabilities such as in big data visualizations.
D’Armenio, E., “Archives numériques et langages audiovisuels. Une épistémologie des formats techniques” Signata — Annales des Sémiotiques, 2021.
The article aims to test a semio-rhetoric approach to archives, whose long-term objectives are: 1) to examine the evolution of audiovisual languages in the era of digital archives; 2) to develop tools for computer analysis and strategies for the enhancement of archives. Within this contribution, the central question will be the construction of its epistemological foundation, based on the relationship between the technical and the semiotic dimensions of visual archives and languages. Starting with a reading of the theory of enunciation, we will discuss two conceptions of the technical formats of images: the media formats that have accompanied the evolution and diversification of production technologies, as well as the computer formats that manage the coding, conversion, and visualization of data. By analysing these two conceptions, we will provide an overview of their interrelationships, as well as a review of the rhetorical strategies pertaining to them.
D’Armenio, E., “The Mediatic Dimension of Images. Visual Semiotics Faced With Gerhard Richter’s Artwork”, Visual communication (SAGE).
In this article, we endeavour to analyze Gerhard Richter’s photo-paintings for the way they build an intersemiotic dialogue between photography and painting. On the one hand, we will try to characterize the modalities of this dialogue and to provide an original interpretation of Richter’s work. On the other hand, we will use the peculiar case of Richter’s work as a starting point for a conceptual renewal in the analysis of visual languages, notably with regard to the semiotic approach. In particular, we will try to define the mediatic dimension of images, which has to do with the substances, substrates, and devices through which images are produced. We shall do so in a manner as to integrate the achievements of visual semiotics as regards the compositional dimension of colours, shapes, and figures. We will take into account the way in which the material and the substances of expression of images impact the construction of meaning, in accordance with the hypothesis of a superposition of technical and semantic aspects. The confrontation with Richter’s production will lead us to go beyond plastic and figurative readings, as we will propose the concepts of technical formats and of techno-percepts of images. While the former concern the historical recognition of images on the basis of the devices having produced their substance – leading to identifications such as ‘early cinema images’, ‘smartphone images’, ‘surveillance camera images’, etc. – the latter concern the perceptive configurations resulting from the formative work of the technical devices.
D’Armenio, E., “Beyond Interactivity and Immersion. A Kinetic Reconceptualization for Virtual Reality and Video Games”, New Techno-Humanities (Elsevier).
In this paper we aim to propose a theory for understanding and analyzing the meaning experiences of video games and VR. By focusing on the viewer’s movement on the interface and its transformation into movements within virtual worlds we will attempt to overcome assumptions based on the concepts of interaction and immersion that are at the core of academic thinking. It is not clear what distinguishes the interaction of digital media from the interpretive interaction of traditional media. Similarly, the concept of immersion risks generating confusion between sensory involvement and emotional and narrative involvement. For this reason, we will understand video games and VR as movement-images: experiences that build their meaning and storytelling according to two interrelated sets of qualities. On the one hand, the visual qualities widely studied in semiotics and art history; on the other hand, the kinetic qualities concerning movement. By postulating the existence of kinetic diagrams, i.e. relations between movements on the interface and virtual movements, we will identify the way in which video games and virtual reality build emerging narratives, combining visual worlds with figurative, abstract or thematic movements. Some examples of virtual experiences — including the analysis of Tetris and the cases of Half-Life: Alyx and Carne y Arena — will allow us to show how kinetic syntax and visual syntax are respectively articulated in videogames and virtual reality.
D’Armenio, E. and Dondero, M.G., « L’exploration des villes : les médiatisations visuelles entre mouvement et temporalité », Come cambia il senso del luogo, Conference proceedings of the International Conference of the Fédération Romane de Sémiotique, pp. 235-246, 2021.
Our intervention aims to address the modalities of exploration, data collection and analysis of urban space accomplished through different visual and interactive media. It consists of two parts. In the first part we want to investigate how artists and scientists have collected visual (and other) data that have been used as documents to study the city. We want to compare the strategies of data collection and the enunciative strategies of the resulting visualisations. In the second part, we propose a typology of virtual explorations of the city based on media practices implemented via various computer platforms. Virtual reality videos, on the other hand, allow for continuous exploration, organised by a prior staging, which leaves the angle of vision free in immersion. Finally, digital reproductions of cities – including those of video games and Digital Heritage projects – will complete our typology. Video games impose an active exploration of urban spaces, transforming it in accordance with a thematic scripting of movement.