Ágnes Pethő

July 2, 9:30 – 10:30

From Crossing Media Borders to Rethinking In-Betweenness. Shifting Vantage Points in the Interpretation of Cinematic Intermediality

The first part of the presentation will offer a brief meta-theoretical survey and address the heterogeneity of the discourse on intermediality tracing a trajectory of its major directions of thought. On the one hand, intermediality studies grounded in semiotics have introduced the concept of “media borders” (Rajewsky, Elleström) and define intermediality as the “trespassing” of such borders (resulting in various trans-mediations/codifications), on the other hand, philosophical approaches have attempted to map the “uncharted land that lies between” (Higgins), emphasizing the impossibility of pinning down the boundaries. More recently, however, the vantage points in the interpretation of cinematic intermediality have shifted towards the rethinking of the idea of in-betwenness in new and exciting ways by looking not only at what happens to or in-between media (or the arts) in an intermedial relationship but also at the relations between media and reality. New conceptual metaphors like “impurity” (Badiou), “passages” (Bellour, Nagib) or “gaps” (Rancière) reveal the intertwining of art and non-art, the real and the intermedial, with a strong emphasis on performativity: on relations of power and conflict, on conveying tensions that go beyond the realm of media. The second half of the presentation will dwell on such new vantage points and explore the figuration of the “intermedial metalepsis” in contemporary cinema through which the jarring sensation of media differences becomes a strategy both to create artificial “passages” to the real and to engage in a paradoxical interplay between abstraction and immersion. 


Ágnes Pethő is Professor of Film Studies at the Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania (Romania). She is also the executive editor of the English language international peer-reviewed journal Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies. She is the author of the book, Cinema and Intermediality. The Passion for the In-Between (2011, second revised and enlarged edition in 2020), the editor of Caught In-Between. Intermediality in Eastern European and Russian Cinema (2020) Film in the Post-Media Age (2012), The Cinema of Sensations (2015).