The Gesamtkunstwerk as Synergy of the Arts

Edited by Massimo Fusillo and Marina Grishakova

The first CLAM publication on the Gesamtkunstwerk, which comes out of a Workshop held at 2016 Vienna ICLA Congress, just appeared by Peter Lang, edited by Massimo Fusillo and Marina Grishakowa, with a Postface by Matthew Wilson Smith (University of Stanford).

The book reconceives the “total work of art” as a variation of intermediality, a practice that subverts any essentialist vision of artistic languages through complex interplay and blending of perceptions, amplified by new media and the syncretic nature of the cyberspace. It aims at revealing the vitality of modern and contemporary Gesamtkunstwerk by mapping its presence in various arts and media.


Special Issue of “Between” : Transmediality / Intermediality / Crossmediality: Problems of Definition

Workshop in Macau and publication of the proceedings

The CLAM held its second Workshop at the ICLA Congress in Macau in July 2019, devoted to “Problems of Terminology and Classification” with the participation of Hans-Joachim Backe, Massimo Fusillo, Yorimitsu Hashimoto, Helga Mitterbauer, Mauro Pala, Marcio Seligmann-Silva, Federico Zecca. The papers were submitted to the Journal of the Italian Association of Theory and Comparative History of Literature Between, and have been just published in the current issue: Vol 10 No 20 (2020): Transmediality / Intermediality / Crossmediality: Problems of Definition, Eds. H.-J. Backe, M. Fusillo, M. Lino, with the focus section Intermedial Dante: Reception, Appropriation, Metamorphosis, Eds. C. Fischer and M. Petricola

Call for Papers Events

Transcodification: Literatures – Arts – Media

First Conference of the ICLA Research Committee on Literatures/Arts/Media (CLAM)

Department of Humanities – Excellence Program 2018-2022

January 14-16, 2021 – University of L’Aquila

Benny Chirco, Dinamica di linguaggio, 2011.
Reproduced with the artist’s permission.

The transition of narratives, characters, themes and iconic elements from one code of representation to another represents one of the most fundamental processes through which the literary and artistic fields evolve, transform, and expand within a given culture. These same processes of transcodification also play a vital role in how different cultures interact across time and space. In the classical world, mythical narratives were disseminated through the Homeric epic, the theatrical genre of tragedy and the visual arts. From the onset of Christianity to the late modern age, the history of European art has been driven by the adaptation of episodes from the Bible and other religious texts across a number of media, from painting to sculpture, from medieval plays to sacre rappresentazioni, from musical texts to folkloric practices. Fables have moved from orality to the written form; at the same time, written narratives have been circulating through oral transmission. Medieval and early modern manuscripts were illuminated; modern and contemporary texts are illustrated. From antiquity to the contemporary media franchise, transcodification is ubiquitous.

Today, mass media and the digital revolution have changed—and are still changing—the notions of author, text, public, intellectual property and medium that were inherited from the 20th century’s critical traditions. Literature, cinema, theatre and television are now facing the multisensory logic of the contemporary mediascape, a logic based on inclusion, acceleration, simultaneity and hyper-mediation. The idea of text has expanded into that of hypertext, while narration is becoming more and more pluralistic, polycentric and antihierarchical: as proposed by Lev Manovich (2010), narratives are becoming more and more like softwares that can be endlessly rewritten and reused. Cinema is being re-articulated in the forms of the so-called postcinema, in which films become part of a larger system of converging media and cinema can be relocated outside its traditional and institutional spaces. This medium’s formal structures are being disseminated in urban spaces, thus giving birth to new forms of visuality like videomapping and media façade installations. Media may quote and thematize other media, according to the well-known concept of re-mediation coined by Bolter and Grusin (1999), thus generating what Irina Rajewsky (2002) defined as “intermedia references”. The interactivity and immersivity of videogames, augmented reality and virtual reality, as well as the transmedia and crossmedia organization of storytelling (especially in the case of TV series), also suggest a deep sense of engagement towards media hybridization and the exploration of innovative forms of textuality. Finally, the question has arisen, and is still being debated, whether it is appropriate to consider the theatre as part of the cluster of forms which, since the middle of the 20th century, have been subsumed under the general label “media”.

Given these premises, the first CLAM conference Transcodification: Literatures – Arts – Media represents an invitation to investigate the principles and practices of transcodification across time and space, as well as to discuss re-mediation as an aesthetic category which implies fluidity, fragmentation and pluralization. The conference’s main purpose is to offer an intermedial perspective on fiction and the arts taking as a starting point the insights provided by the most recent developments in comparative literature. More specifically, such an inquiry’s aim is twofold:

  • historicizing transcodification, re-mediation and intermediality as both a set of practices and a set of philosophical notions;
  • exploring transcodification in the contemporary (post-WWII) age and examining the new roles and configurations of literature in the global polymorphic imagination.

We encourage contributions addressing any of the following areas or any interrelation between them:

  • Transcodification, adaptation and intermediality, from antiquity to today;
  • Literatures and the arts;
  • Transmedia narratology;
  • Philosophies of transcodification;
  • Literary transcodifications: new perspectives in comparative literature;
  • The dissemination of literary techniques (narration, empathy, point of view, etc.) in every aspect of contemporary culture;
  • Cinema/TV series and intermediality: theoretical frameworks;
  • Postcinema and new digital technologies;
  • TV series and transmedia television
  • Baroque/Neo-Baroque: theories, aesthetics and technologies;
  • Performance, performativity and theatricality;
  • Digital Art: aesthetics, environments and historical perspectives;
  • Inter-art studies;
  • Hybrid forms of mediality: musical theatre, theatrical performance, graphic novels, transmedia storytelling, computer games, video art, video clips, advertising, webseries, videomapping, media façade, etc.

Confirmed Keynotes:

Sean Cubitt, University of Melbourne / Marina Grishakova, University of Tartu / Christopher Johnson, Arizona State University / Ágnes Pethő, Sapientia University of Cluj-Napoca / Marie-Laure Ryan, University of Colorado / Rebecca Schneider, Brown University

We invite you to send paper proposals to

Proposals should include an abstract (300 words max), five keywords and a short biographical note (10 lines max).

The working language of the conference will be English.

The deadline for abstracts submission is February 23, 2020.

Participants will be notified of acceptance by March 15, 2020.

The conference will not have a registration fee.

The conference venue is the Department of Humanities, Viale Nizza, 14, L’Aquila.

Further information about accommodation and how to reach the conference venue will be published at (the website is currently under construction).

Scientific Committee:

Massimo Fusillo, University of L’Aquila, Italy / Marina Grishakova, University of Tartu, Estonia / Hans-Joachim Backe, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark / Jan Baetens, KU Leuven, Belgium / Bart Van Den Bossche, KU Leuven, Belgium / Kiene Brillenburg Wurth, University of Utrecht, Netherlands / Jørgen Bruhn, Linnaeus University, Sweden / Philippe Despoix, University of Montréal, Canada / Caroline Fischer, Université de Pau, France / Yorimitsu Hashimoto, University of Osaka, Japan / Karin Kukkonen, University of Oslo, Norway / Christina Ljungberg, University of Zurich, Switzerland / Kai Mikkonen, University of Helsinki, Finland / Nam Soo-Young, Korea National Univerity of Arts, Korea / Haun Saussy, University of Chicago, USA / Márcio Seligmann-Silva, State University of Campinas, UNICAMP, Brazil

Organizing Committee:

Massimo Fusillo / Doriana Legge / Mirko Lino / Mattia Petricola / Gianluigi Rossini


Narrative Complexity. Cognition, Embodiment, Evolution

Edited by Marina Grishakova and Maria Poulaki

The variety in contemporary philosophical and aesthetic thinking as well as in scientific and experimental research on complexity has not yet been fully adopted by narratology. By integrating cutting-edge approaches, this volume takes a step toward filling this gap and establishing interdisciplinary narrative research on complexity.

Narrative Complexity provides a framework for a more complex and nuanced study of narrative and explores the experience of narrative complexity in terms of cognitive processing, affect, and mind and body engagement. Bringing together leading international scholars from a range of disciplines, this volume combines analytical effort and conceptual insight in order to relate more effectively our theories of narrative representation and complexities of intelligent behavior. 

This collection engages important questions on how narrative complexity functions as an agent of cultural evolution, how our understanding of narrative complexity can be extended in light of new research in the social sciences and humanities, how interactive media produce new types of narrative complexity, and how the role of embodiment as a factor of narrative complexity acquires prominence in cognitive science and media studies. The contributors explore narrative complexity transmitted through various semiotic channels, embedded in multiple contexts, and experienced across different media, including film, comics, music, interactive apps, audiowalks, and ambient literature.


Inaugural meeting and workshop of the International Comparative Literature Association’s (ICLA) Research Committee on Literature, Arts, and Media

The ICLA Research Committee on Literature, Arts & Media held its first conference in Tartu, in December 2018.

University of Tartu

President of the Committee is Professor Massimo Fusillo (L’Aquila University) and Vice President Professor Marina Grishakova (University of Tartu). The Committee consists of twelve scholars from various countries – Denmark, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden, France, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Finland, Brazil, and the US. Its purpose is studying literature as one medium among other media and arts (painting, music, theatre, film, photography, digital art, etc.) and mapping out the current rapidly changing landscape of interarts and intermedia studies.

The workshop focuses on the most interesting and challenging issues in these fields from the perspective of comparative literary and cultural studies. The questions that the workshop addresses include but are not limited to the following: How do the new technologies and media influence the ways people and cultures perceive and conceptualize art and literature? How has the status and value of a work of art been changing in new art and media ecologies? What are the new forms of remediation and adaptation from one medium to another? What is the retroactive effect of the new forms of art and media on the old forms? How do these new phenomena change the paradigms of interart and intermedia studies? What are most challenging and urgent issues in interart, intermedia and transmedia studies today that a comparative scholar should address? What are the future perspectives?

The workshop is organized by Professor Marina Grishakova (academic coordinator) with Dr. Siim Sorokin and Dr. Remo Gramigna, researchers at the Institute of Cultural Research, University of Tartu.  

Event Schedule

Literature, Arts, and Media:  Rivalry or Alliance? 

Ülikooli 16-212, Institute of Cultural Research, University of Tartu  

Thu Dec. 13

9.00 Registration

9.15-9.30 Welcome and greetings (Marina Grishakova, Massimo Fusillo)

Session 1: Moderator Marina Grishakova (University of Tartu) 

9.30-10.10 Jørgen Bruhn (Linnaeus University). Two ways of co-thinking media and literature

10.10-10.50  Christina Ljungberg (University of Zurich). Sensorial effectiveness in multimedia arts and literature

10.50-11.10  Coffee break  

11.10-11.50  Kiene Brillenburg Wurth (University of Utrecht). Book presence   

11.50-12.30  Bart Van Den Bossche (KU Leuven). On the “retroactive” impact of new forms of art and media, in particular with regard to literary history of modernism  

12.30-13.30 Lunch break  

Session 2: Moderator Siim Sorokin (University of Tartu)  

13.30-14.10 Caroline Fischer (Université de Pau). Literary remediation of new media – new wine in old bottles?

14.10-14.50 Yorimitsu Hashimoto (University of Osaka). Representations of torture across media: Oriental, Medieval or Occidental? 

14.50-15.10 Coffee break

 15.10-15.50 Hans-Joachim Backe (IT University of Copenhagen). Mix, hybrid, or cyborg? (Re-) Conceptualizing Comic-Games and Game-Comics 

15.50-16.30 Márcio Seligmann-Silva (State University of Campinas). Are all kinds of art ridiculous now? The new art landscape of the digital era

17.00-18.00 City walk 

Fri Dec.14

9.15 Registration

Session 3: Moderator Remo Gramigna (University of Tartu)

 9.30-10.10 Kai Mikkonen (University of Helsinki). So, what’s the point of hybridity?  

10.10-10.50 Marina Grishakova (University of Tartu).  On a terminological confusion     

10.50-11.20 Coffee break 

11.20-12.00 Massimo Fusillo & Mirko Lino (University of L’Aquila). Intermediality in Digital Media Environment. A Lexicon for the Computerization of Storytelling

12.00-12.40 General discussion

12.40-13.40 Lunch break

13.45-14.45 Committee business meeting  

15.00-17.00 Visit to the National Museum

The event was financed by the European Regional Development Fund (Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies) and by the research grant PUT1481 (Estonian Research Council).