Practices of the sign and/or representational strategies in literature (Thirteenth International Comparative Literature Colloquium, Vilenica 2015)

Event title (long): 
Thirteenth International Comparative Literature Colloquium, Vilenica 2015: Practices of the sign and/or representational strategies in literature / 13. mednarodni komparativistični kolokvij Vilenica 2015, Znakovne prakse poetičnega in/ali strategije reprezentacije v literaturi2015
Slovenian Comparative Literature Association (SDPK/SiCLA)
Closing date for submissions: 
21 April, 2015
Event dates: 
04.09.2015 - 05.09.2015
Contact: Jelka Kernev Štrajn,, and Aleš Vaupotič,




Petek, 4. septembra / Friday, September 4

(Ljubljana, dvorana Društva slovenskih pisateljev / Slovene Writers' Association Hall, Tomšičeva ulica 12)


14.30 Pozdravni nagovor / Opening address

- Dejan KOS, predsednik SDPK / SiCLA president

- Jelka KERNEV ŠTRAJN, Aleš VAUPOTIČ, organizatorja kolokvija / organisers of the colloquium


14.50–16.30 Prvo zasedanje / First session

- Vladimir MARTINOVSKI: Ekfraza in intersemiotska transpozicija (literatura, likovne umetnosti, kultura) / Ekphrasis and intersemiotic transposition (literature, visual arts, culture)

- Bożena TOKARZ: Pesniške reprezentacije resničnosti / Poetical representations of reality

- Darja PAVLIČ: Lirika kot način reprezentacije uma / Lyric poetry as a method of representing the mind

16.30–17.00 Diskusija / Discussion


17.15–18.30 Drugo zasedanje / Second session

- Jelka KERNEV ŠTRAJN: Zoper »naravni« red sveta / Against the "natural" order of the world

- Alex GOLDIŞ: Ideologija semioze v romunski književnosti za časa komunizma / The ideology of semiosis in Romanian literature under communism

- Varja BALŽALORSKY ANTIĆ: Kako pomenja pesem: Nekaj Benvenistovih in Meschonnicovih konceptov za raziskavo pesniške govorice / How does the poem signify: Some of Benveniste's and Meschonnic's concepts for the investigation of the poetic language

18.30–19.00 Diskusija / Discussion


Sobota, 5. septembra / Saturday, September 5

(Ljubljana, dvorana Društva slovenskih pisateljev / Slovene Writers' Association Hall, Tomšičeva ulica 12)


9.30–11.00 Tretje zasedanje / Third session

- Aleš VAUPOTIČ: Semiotika in realizem / Semiotics and realism

- Øyvind EIDE: Zemljevid besedila ali zemljevid bralca: Vizualizacije imen krajev kot produktivne laži / A map of the text or a map of the reader: Place name visualisations as productive lies

- Narvika BOVCON: Znaki pri Marcelu Duchampu / Marcel Duchamp's signs

11.00–11.30 Diskusija / Discussion


12.00–13.00 Četrto zasedanje / Fourth session

- Tomaž TOPORIŠIČ: Nekaj poglavij iz zgodovine (kratkih)stikov (post)semiotične uprizoritvene teorije in prakse / A few chapters from the history of (short) circuits in (post)semiotic performance theory and practice

- Iztok OSOJNIK: Ikonoklazem anonimnosti / Iconoclasm of anonymity



13.00–13.30 Diskusija in sklepne besede / Discussion and conclusion




(Slovenski prevod je za angleškim besedilom, označen z modro.)


Thirteenth International Comparative Literature Colloquium: Practices of sign – Vilenica 2015


The Slovenian Comparative Literature Association, in cooperation with the Slovenian Writers Association, the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Art and the University of Nova Gorica, is pleased to announce the Thirteenth International Comparative Literature Colloquium, which will be held as part of the program of the Thirtieth International Writers’ Festival (Vilenica 2015). We are inviting you to participate in this colloquium dedicated to discussing semiotic practices and representational strategies in literature (and other visual arts). You will find a detailed description of the proposed theme in the attachment. We hope that you will be able to join us in Ljubljana, where the colloquium will take place on September 4th and 5th, 2015. The event will be chaired by Jelka Kernev Štrajn, a literary critic and translator from Ljubljana, and Aleš Vaupotič, a video artist, assistant professor at the University of Nova Gorica, and head of the Humanities Research Center at the University of Nova Gorica.

The working languages at the conference will be English. Colloquium presentations should not exceed twenty minutes. You are invited to send a paper proposal to both chairs ( , ). Please send the title of your presentation, a short abstract (1500 to 2000 characters including spaces), and a short CV with a portrait photo. The deadline for submission is April 21st.

The extended conference contributions will be published in a special issue of Primerjalna književnost, our peer reviewed journal of comparative literature studies.

We look forward to hearing from you, and we hope you can join us at this colloquium that will blend work with pleasure.


With kindest regards,


Jelka Kernev Štrajn, M.A.

Aleš Vaupotič, Ph.D.






Thirteenth International Comparative Literature Colloquium, Vilenica 2015

Practices of the sign and/or representational strategies in literature

(Znakovne prakse poetičnega in/ali strategije reprezentacije v literaturi. Slovenski prevod je za angleškim besedilom.)


Today's emancipatory social movements are generally linked to considerations of the relationship between nature and culture—to the differentiation and affiliation of the two spheres and to the extreme permeability of their borders. This topic is being pondered within both the natural sciences and the humanities. It is precisely around the scope of the term “culture” that developments and changes have occurred in recent years. Research in the complex field of discourses and dispositifs has been equally intense. Here literature has an important function because it calls into question existing relations and, at the same time, influences, as an inherent social factor, social occurrences in society, and man’s relationship with nature and his attitude towards the appearance of “smart” machines. Interdisciplinary linkages are no longer the exception, but the rule.

With changes in man’s experience, methods of representation and communication are also changing. Culture in general is directly attached to the question of representation, and representation is possible only through the existence of the sign. That is to say, it closely depends on the understanding of the sign, as these two partially overlapping definitions show: “A sign, or representamen, is something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity” (Peirce 2.228, 1879); and representation, for its part, means that “someone or something is representing someone or something.” In this, the expression representation alludes to a number of fields, from philosophy and art to politics, economics, and the natural sciences, which means that the history of the term representation is also linked to all these fields.

The notion of the sign cannot be conceived of independently of the theory and history of language. It is therefore no coincidence that semiotics, as an independent science purporting to make concepts found in different humanities comparable by means of their similarities and differences, took shape at the same time as, and in close association with, the linguistic turn in Western thought. At the same time, intensive research on the codes and conventions of non-linguistic signs led to further theoretical turns: the cultural turn, the “pictorial turn” (W. J. T. Mitchell), research on the “technical imagination” (Vilém Flusser) centering on communications with new information technologies, the spatial turn, and so on.

In handling the sign in general and the literary sign in particular, it thus became impossible to avoid the visual dimension. Although it is tempting to remain at the level of the word, one must also take into account the visual dimension thereof, the “semiotic otherness” of the word; that is, writing and its ambiguous status as both image and textuality. Long before Derrida, St. Augustine pondered the subject when he wrote, “Signa sunt verba visibilia, verba signa audibilia” (Letters are visible words, words audible signs). It therefore becomes necessary to include the problematic of writing systems in considerations of signs, and this is particularly so because writing systems can open the way to certain alternatives observations of the relations between words, images, and things.

Although the purpose of the colloquium is not to study the history of the sign, one cannot ignore the historical dimensions of this problematic, nor would it be desirable to do so because the practices of the sign and strategies of literary-artistic representation always unfold in a given spatial and temporal context.

The point of the departure of the discussion at the colloquium is rooted in the belief that semiosis starts at the point where life itself starts. This means that semiology is understood as a transdisciplinary theory and, as such, does not limit one to that period when discussions of signs were at their most explicit—that is, to the 1960s—when, in parallel with the rise of structural methods, semiotics gained the status of a special science and became an academic discipline.

The structuralists reactivated de Saussure’s definition of the sign and applied it to a number of phenomena outside linguistics. Based on de Saussure’s findings, they sought to establish an awareness of the sign primarily at its synchronous, theoretical level, a move that went in the face of the prevalent tradition of hermeneutic interpretation, which always took into account the specific historical situation in the sense of a comprehensive context and meaning. For this reason it is prudent to re-examine the definition of the sign in light of the relations between structuralism, post-structuralism, and the hermeneutic tradition, and even more so in light of the distinction between de Saussure’s semiology and the semiotic tradition of C. S. Peirce. Here there are two distinctive definitions of the sign. Loosely speaking, there are also the dyadic and triadic sign. The fundamental difference lies in the fact that the de Saussure’s sign is in its essence arbitrary and conventional, whereas Peirce’s sign is everything that may be interpreted as a sign.

The aims of our comparative literature colloquium are:

To observe, within different literatures, authors’ and individuals’ poetics and cultures, and the relations between the word and writing or typography; from this point of view, ekphrasis as the meeting point between art and literature is also of interest;

To critically reassess semiotic approaches to literature and other arts from the 1960s to the present and to determine which directions turned out to be most productive and which were less fruitful;

To determine how semiotics as a science has a hand in shaping the deconstruction method and other approaches to literature and art (e.g., gender studies, post-colonialism, and ecocriticism);

To observe how artistic practices throughout history have impacted the development of the theory of the sign and vice versa; due to its privileged position vis-à-vis representation, realism has a special status in this regard;

To reconsider how and to what extent individual approaches grounded in semiotics influenced receptions of artistic merit and literariness and the dissemination of definitions thereof;

To examine the nature of the role of sign theory in contemporary art production; in particular in conceptualism and in those approaches that treat the text as a game;

To re-evaluate various possibilities and difficulties in linking narrative theories, game theories, and, for example, Aarseth’s theory of cybertextuality, with the aim of interpreting new-media texts such as hypertext, text games, and so on;

To achieve an overview of communication modes for single- and multi-user cyber text and to consider the functioning of communications machines—machines that generate “poetry”—from the standpoint of semiosis as opposed to that of data processing; to review research orientations in artificial intelligence in artefacts of art and culture;

To observe how the notion of the sign is connected with artistic self-reflexivity, with the phenomenon of metarepresentation, and with the function of the autotelic sign;

To determine the relations between semiotic traditions, biosemiotics, and ecocriticism.

In all of the above, it would be desirable to test sign theories and representation strategies on the phenomena of modern and contemporary art—both literature and the visual arts—specifically on fine art practices that have expanded and continue to expand these theories and strategies (e.g., Duchamp’s ready-made, concrete poetry, the French OULIPO group, Fluxus, the Slovenian OHO group, the institutional criticism of Marcel Broodthaers, archive art, the work of Gerhard Richter, hyper-narrative, digital poetry, computer videogames, location-based media, and other forms of new media and hybrid art).


(Contact: Jelka Kernev Štrajn, , and Aleš Vaupotič, .)








13. mednarodni komparativistični kolokvij, Znakovne prakse poetičnega in/ali strategije reprezentacije v literaturi – Vilenica 2015



Dragi kolegi in drage kolegice,


Slovensko društvo za primerjalno književnost v sodelovanju z Društvom slovenskih pisateljev, ZRC SAZU, in Univerzo v Novi Gorici pripravlja 13. mednarodni komparativistični simpozij, ki bo kot vsako leto potekal v okviru 30. Mednarodnega literarnega festivala Vilenica 2015. Vabimo vas k sodelovanju na tem simpoziju, posvečenem razmisleku o semiotskih praksah in reprezentacijskih strategijah v književnosti in drugih umetnostih, likovnih … Podroben opis predlagane teme boste našli v nadaljevanju. Upamo, da se nam boste lahko pridružili v Ljubljani, in sicer v prostorih DSP na Tomšičevi 12, 4. in 5. septembra.


Simpozij pripravljata Jelka Kernev Štrajn, literarni kritičarka in prevajalka, in Aleš Vaupotič, docent na Univerzi v Novi Gorici, vodja tamkajšnjega Humanističnega raziskovalnega centra in video umetnik.


Delovna jezika na simpoziju bosta angleščina in slovenščina. Posamezna predstavitev naj ne bi presegala 20 minut. Svojo udeležbo na simpoziju lahko potrdite s sporočilom obema organizatorjema, , . Prosimo vas, da obenem pošljete tudi naslov svojega prispevka in povzetek (1500 do 2000 znakov s presledki). Skrajni rok za prijavo je 21. april.


Prispevki s simpozija bodo objavljeni v posebni tematski številki revije Primerjalna književnost.


Čakava torej na vaše prijave v upanju, da se nam boste pridružili na tem dogodku.


Z lepimi pozdravi,


Mag. Jelka Kernev Štrajn

Doc. Dr. Aleš Vaupotič




13. mednarodni komparativistični kolokvij, Vilenica 2015


Znakovne prakse poetičnega in/ali strategije reprezentacije v literaturi


Današnja emancipacijska družbena gibanja se praviloma navezujejo na opredeljevanje razmerij med naravo in kulturo, na njuno razločenost in povezanost, na skrajno prepustnost meje med njima. O tem razmišljajo naravoslovci in humanisti; v zadnjih letih se namreč čedalje intenzivneje povečuje in spreminja ravno doseg pojma kultura. Enako intenzivno potekajo tudi raziskave kompleksnega polja diskurzov in dispozitivov. Literatura (in tudi druge umetnosti) ima pri tem pomembno funkcijo, ker tematizira obstoječa razmerja in hkrati kot inherentni družbeni dejavnik vpliva na dogajanja v družbi, na človekovo razmerje z naravo in na njegov odnos do pojava t. i. »pametnih strojev«. Interdisciplinarno povezovanje postaja pravilo in ne več izjema.


S spreminjanjem človekove izkušnje se spreminjajo tudi načini reprezentacije in komunikacije. Kultura nasploh je namreč neposredno povezana z vprašanjem reprezentacije; ta pa je možna samo skozi možnost znakovnega. Se pravi, da je tesno odvisna od pojmovanja znaka, kar dokazujeta tudi njuni delno prekrivajoči se definiciji: znak ali reprezentamen je nekaj, kar stoji za nekoga namesto nečesa v nekem oziru ali pristojnosti (Peirce); reprezentacija pa pomeni, da nekdo ali nekaj nekoga ali nekaj predstavlja. S tem izraz reprezentacija aludira na vrsto področij od filozofije in umetnosti do politike, ekonomije in naravoslovnih ved, kar pomeni, da je tudi zgodovina pojma reprezentacija povezana z vsemi temi področji.


Pojma znak ni moč misliti neodvisno od teorije in zgodovine jezika. Zato tudi ni naključje, da se je semiotika kot samostojna veda, ki naj bi skušala koncepte različnih humanističnih znanosti narediti primerljive v njihovih podobnostih in razlikah, izoblikovala sočasno in v tesni prepletenosti z jezikovnim obratom v zahodnem mišljenju. Ob tem je intenzivno raziskovanje kodov in konvencij nejezikovnih znakov privedlo do nadaljnjih teoretskih obratov: »kulturnega«, tako imenovanega »slikovnega obrata« (W. J. Thomas Mitchell), na komunikacijo z novimi informacijskimi tehnologijami osredotočenega raziskovanja »tehniške imaginacije« (Vilem Flusser), »prostorskega obrata« itn.


Pri obravnavi znaka nasploh in literarnega znaka posebej potemtakem ni mogoče odmisliti vizualne razsežnosti. Četudi bi se omejili zgolj na besedo, bi morali upoštevati tudi njeno vizualno razsežnost, njeno »semiotično drugost«, torej pisavo in njen dvoumni status podobe in besedilnosti, o čemer je že dosti pred Derridajem razmišljal sv. Avguštin, ko je zapisal, »Signa sint verba visibilia, verba signa audibilia.« V razmislek o znakih je torej treba vključiti tudi problematiko pisave, še posebej zato, ker je mogoče razpravo ravno prek nje odpreti tudi nekaterim alternativnim motrenjem razmerij med besedami, podobami in stvarmi.


Čeprav namen kolokvija ni raziskava zgodovine pojmovanja znaka, se historični plati te problematike ne moremo in nočemo izogniti; znakovne prakse in strategije literarno-umetniške reprezentacije se namreč vselej dogajajo v določenem prostorskem in časovnem kontekstu.


Izhodišče simpozijske razprave se utemeljuje v prepričanju, da se semioza začne tam, kjer se začne življenje. To pomeni, da semiotiko razumemo kot transdisciplinarno vedo in nikakor ne zamejeno samo na tisto obdobje, ko se je o znakih najeksplictineje govorilo, to je v šestdesetih in sedemdesetih letih dvajsetega stoletja, ko je semiotika vzporedno z razcvetom strukturalističnih metod dobila status posebne vede in postala univerzitetna disciplina.


Strukturalisti so reaktualizirali de Saussurovo pojmovanje znakov in ga aplicirali na številne pojave zunaj lingvistike. Na podlagi de Saussurovih ugotovitev so skušali vzpostaviti spoznavanje znakovnosti predvsem na sinhroni, teoretski ravni, kar je bilo v nasprotju z dotedanjim hermenevtičnim interpretiranjem, ki je vselej upoštevalo določeno zgodovinsko situacijo v smislu celostnega konteksta in pomena. Prav zato se zdi smiselno premisliti pojmovanje znaka v luči razmerij med strukturalizmom, poststrukturalizmom in hermenevtično tradicijo, še bolj pa v luči razlike med saussurovsko semiologijo in semiotskim izročilom C. S. Peirca. Tu gre za dvoje različnih pojmovanj znaka. Ohlapno rečeno, govorimo lahko o diadnem in triadnem znaku. Temeljna razlika je v tem, da je saussurovski znak v osnovi arbitraren in konvencionalen, peircovski znak pa je vse tisto, kar je mogoče interpretirati kot znak.


Cilji komparativističnega kolokvija so:

- znotraj različnih literatur, avtorskih poetik in tudi kultur opazovati razmerja med besedo, pisavo ali tipografijo; s tega vidika je zanimiva tudi ekfraza kot stičišče likovnega in literarnega;

- kritično premotriti semiotske pristope k literaturi in drugim umetnostim od šestdesetih let 20. stoletja do danes in ob tem ugotavljati, katere smeri (vezane na določene teoretike) so se pokazale kot najbolj produktivne, katere pa so se izpele;

- ugotoviti, kako semiotika kot veda sooblikuje metodo dekonstrukcije in druge literarne in umetniške metodologije, kot so: teorija diskurza, študije spolov, postkolonializem in ekokritika;

- opazovati, kako so umetniške prakse v zgodovini vplivale na razvoj teorije znaka in vice versa; tu ima realizem zavoljo svojega odlikovanega odnosa do reprezentacije poseben status;

- premisliti, kako in koliko so posamezni semiotsko utemeljeni pristopi vplivali na dojemanje umetniškosti in literarnosti ter na širjenje ali spreminjanje njunih definicij;

- prevprašati, kakšno vlogo ima teorija znaka v sodobni umetniški produkciji, zlasti v konceptualizmu in tistih pristopih, ki obravnavajo tekst kot igro;

- premisliti možnosti in težave povezovanja med teorijami pripovedi, teorijami iger in npr. Aarsethovo teorijo kibertekstualnosti za interpretacijo novomedijskih tekstov, kot so hipertekst, besedilne igre itn.;

- pregledati komunikacijske modele enouporabniških in večuporabniških kibertekstov ter razmisliti o delovanju komunikacijskih avtomatov – kot so avtomati za poezijo – z vidika semioze v razliki do obdelave podatkov; pregledati smeri raziskovanj na področju umetne inteligence v umetniških in kulturnih artefaktih;

- opazovati, kako je pojmovanje znaka povezano z umetniško samorefleksijo in s fenomenom metareprezentacije ter kakšna je pri tem vloga avtoteličnosti znaka;

- ugotavljati razmerja med semiotskimi tradicijami, biosemiotiko in ekokritiko.


Ob vsem tem bi bilo zaželeno teorije znaka in/ali strategije reprezentacije preskusiti ob fenomenih modernistične in sodobne umetnosti, tako literarne kot likovne, natančneje tiste umetnosti, ki je širila in še zmeraj širi njune meje (npr.: ready-made Marcela Duchampa, konkretna poezija, francoska skupina OULIPO, Fluxus, slovenska skupina OHO, institucionalna kritika Marcela Broodthaersa, arhivska umetnost in opus Gerharda Richterja, hiperpripovedništvo, digitalna poezija, računalniške videoigre, lokacijski mediji ter druge oblike novomedijske in hibridne umetnosti itn.).


(Kontakt: Jelka Kernev Štrajn, , in Aleš Vaupotič, ).


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