2021 – 2023: Structures of Bodily Interaction. Phenomenological Contributions to Gesture Studies

ABSTRACT

The project aims to bring phenomenology into dialogue with the effervescent research conducted in contemporary gesture studies, an interdisciplinary conglomerate comprising cognitive analysis, ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, psychology, linguistics and ethnographic study, as well as, more recently, film and media studies. In this regard, the project pursues a twofold intention.

On the one hand, it draws upon the results of the aforementioned research in gesture studies for developing an encompassing phenomenological theory of gesture. Thus, it covers a gap in existing literature, insofar as this key topic is still only scarcely addressed in contemporary phenomenology despite promising rudiments in the analyses of linguistic indexicality and situation, bodily intersubjectivity, and the expressivity of action.

Secondly, in rearticulating those three central issues of phenomenology—the theory of situations, that of intercorporeality, and that of praxeological understanding—, it intends to enrich the state of the art in the field of contemporary gesture studies by offering not just a more subtle conceptual basis for the interpretation of gestures, but moreover: a logic, a social philosophy, and a philosophical praxeology of gesture, which are deemed capable to fundament, specify, and extend its analysis.

PROJECT INFO

  • Project director: Dr. Christian FERENCZ-FLATZ
  • Project title: Structures of Bodily Interaction. Phenomenological Contributions to Gesture Studies.
  • Project code: PN-III-P4-ID-PCE-2020-0479
  • Contract no.: PCE 140/ 2021
  • Program: Fundamental and frontier research. Exploratory research projects (PCE)
  • Financed by: UEFISCDI
  • Period of Time: January 2021 – December 2023
  • Funding: 1.198.010 lei

RESEARCH TEAM

EVENTS

  • Call for the special issue of the journal Studia Phaenomenologica XX/2022, with the topic: „Gestures”, with Christian Ferencz-Flatz and Delia Popa as guest editors.

Stage I: 2021 (January-December) 

This first stage of the research project focused mostly on three aspects:

1.) Preliminary reflections (A. Bejinariu / C. Ciocan). Engaging different sides of the phenomenological spectrum, both dr. A. Bejinariu and dr. C. Ciocan engaged in ample reflections intended to situate the question of gestures methodologically and thematically in the sphere of contemporary phenomenological research. Thus, Bejinariu focused mostly on an analysis of Husserl’s early conception of descriptive psychology and its ties to the work of Franz Brentano. His talk „How (not) to Establish Phenomenology as a Science. Husserl’s Concept of Descriptive Psychology in the Logical Investigations”,  presented at the international conference The Idea of Philosophy as Science within 19th Century Thinking (16-17.09.2021, Romanian Academy) thus tackled some key methodological aspects for a descriptive-phenomenological approach to gestures.  In his turn, dr. Cristian Ciocan drew from the works of Martin Heidegger and Vilém Flusser in order to outline the principial difficulties facing a phenomenological description of the vast plurality of gestures, showing how this phenomenon brings to interference the various spheres of the body, intersubjectivity, affect and language. A key point in his reflections, concerning the generality of gestures, was at the core of an essay, which he submitted for publication and is presently under evaluation.

2.) Gesture in the Phenomenology of Language (Ch. Ferencz-Flatz, A. Bejinariu). The PI pursued the main objective for this stage, which was to situate the phenomenon of gesture within the larger scope of a phenomenology of language. His approach drew specifically from Husserl’s discussion of occasional expressions and mimetic signs, which he read in junction with the works on gestual interaction by Adam Kendon and Charles Goodwin. His research was presented in an invited talk at the Workshop Phänomenologie (Husserl Archives Cologne, 09.04.2021) and was later on accepted for publication under the title „Gesten als okkasionelle Bedeutungserfüllungen” in Husserl Studies (online first: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10743-021-09295-w). Following a similar path, dr. A. Bejinariu focused especially on self-oriented gestures in monologic speech. In this regard, he used Husserl’s early considerations to phenomenologically come to grasps with the contemporary gestures-for-conceptualization theory (Kita, Alibani & Chu). His research grew into an article which was submitted for publication and is currently under review, while some of his considerations were presented at the 6th Conference of the Central and East European Society for Phenomenology (Ljubliana, 2-4.12.2021).

3.) Applicative Work. (D. Popa, Ch.Ferencz-Flatz). Both the PI and dr. Delia Popa tested their growing insights into the phenomenology of gesture by philosophically engaging various contemporary artistic and media practices. Together they held a presentation at the residence program of Film+ tackling works of contemporary choreography and experimental film. Delia Popa’s paper, „Le musée de la danse : mouvement et répétition” (Noesis, 2021 forthcoming) further deals with repeated movements in dance. Similarly, the PI held several conferences engaging questions of gesture with regard to cinematic procedures („The Zoom Shot between Epistemic Function and Aesthetic Gesture”, NECS 2021, Palermo), new media of videoconferencing („Virtual Intercorporeality. Some Reflections on Gesturing in Videoconferences). He also handed in an essay on gesture in advertising („Die Geste der Werbung. Beiträge zu einer Medienphänomenologie der Gestik“).

A further significant milestone for this year’s research was launching the call for the special issue of the journal Studia Phaenomenologica XX/2022, with the topic: „Gestures”, with the PI and Delia Popa as guest editors: https://phenomenology.ro/cfp-studia-phaenomenologica-vol-22-2022-gestures/.

 

2021

  • Christian Ferencz-Flatz: „Die Geste der Werbung. Beiträge zu einer Medienphänomenologie der Gestik”, in: E. Dzwiza Ohlsen (ed.): Deixis, Zeigen, Pointing, Darmstadt: WBG Verlag, 2022 (forthcoming);
  • Christian Ferencz-Flatz: „Gesten als okkasionelle Bedeutungserfüllungen”, in: Husserl Studies, 2021 online first;
  • Delia Popa: „Le musée de la danse : mouvement et répétition”, in: Noesis (BDI) (accepted for publication);
  • Alexandru Bejinariu: „XXX”, submitted for publication at xxx (Web of Science) (in evaluation)
  • Cristian Ciocan: XXX”, submitted for publication at „xxx (Web of Science) (in evaluation).

2021

  1. Ch. Ferencz-Flatz: „Virtual Intercorporeality. Some Reflections on Gesturing in Videoconferences”, at the 20th Conference of the Polish Phenomenological Association: Real/Unreal. Towards a Phenomenology of Virtuality, 17-18.12.2021, Warsaw (invited speaker);
  2. Delia Popa: „Mărturia, Promisiunea și Gestul”, at the national conference Experiența Mărturiei: Adevăr, Memorie, Identitate, 15-16.12.2021, Bucharest (online, accepted for presentation).
  3. Alexandru Bejinariu: „The Intentionality of Gestures and Their Role in Monological Thinking”, at the 6th International Conference of the Central and East European Society for Phenomenology, „Phenomenology and Sociality”, 2-4.12.2021, Ljubljana (online).
  4. Delia Popa: „Phenomenology between Community and History”, at the 6th International Conference of the Central and East European Society for Phenomenology: Phenomenology and Sociality, 2-4.12.2021, Ljubljana (online).
  5. Delia Popa: „The Crisis of the Lifeworld and the Criticism of Forms of Life”, at the Radical Philosophy Association Biennial Conference, 11.11. 2021 (online).  
  6. Alexandru Bejinariu: „How (not) to Establish Phenomenology as a Science. Husserl’s Concept of Descriptive Psychology in the Logical Investigations”, at the international conference: The Idea of Philosophy as Science within 19th Century Thinking, 16-17.09. 2021, „Constantin Rădulescu Motru” Institute for Philosophy, Bucharest (online);
  7. Christian Ferencz-Flatz: „The Zoom Shot between Epistemic Function and Aesthetic Gesture”, at the annual conference of the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS): Transitions, Moving Images and Bodies, 07-13.06.2021, University of Palermo (online);
  8. Christian Ferencz-Flatz & D. Popa: „Reflecting Gestures”, workshop at the FILM+ residence program, 22.05.2021, Bucharest (online);
  9. Christian Ferencz-Flatz: „Gesten als okkasionelle Bedeutungserfüllungen”, at the international workshop Workshop Phänomenologie, 09.04.2021, Husserl Archives Cologne (online).