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No. 1
Mittwoch, 14. Juni 2023

The Intermediality Messenger: Newsletter of the Centre for Intermediality Studies in Graz (CIMIG)

Summer 2023

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Intermediality Messenger!
This newsletter will keep you updated regarding all matters intermedial that are related to CIMIG. Whether you are a faculty member or a
student or are otherwise interested in intermediality studies, the
Intermediality Messenger—which will be distributed twice a semester—will conveniently deliver to your inbox pertinent news about CIMIG events and about recent developments in the field. Please subscribe at: The Intermediality Messenger

CIMIG Voices

Interviews with International Visiting Scholars

Stefano Franceschini

Stefano Franceschini is a PhD student at Roma Tre University and an
active member of the Italian Association for North American Studies (AISNA). He received the Caterina Gullì prize for his MA dissertation on H.P. Lovecraft's cosmicist tales. His research interests include
intermediality, Gothic and weird fiction, semiotics, and philosophy of
music. Stefano has published articles and reviews on authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, and Richard Powers. Michael Meister talked to Stefano about his current research, some of which he
conducted during his stay as a visiting scholar at CIMIG in January and February 2023.

MM: What is intermediality theory to you and when did you learn about it?

SF: That’s a very engaging question because, the way I see it, talking about theory leads to theorizing about theory in microcosm, which is
always a fascinating endeavor. Intermediality is such a rich, complex concept. It helps me, among other things, to contemplate Henry Jenkins’s brilliant notion of“convergence culture”; but I think I also agree with
different viewpoints that reflect on the technological and social
dimensions of contemporary (hyper)medial culture. Intermediality and transmediality (depending on the perspective of choice) may be more adequate for the study of the formal and aesthetic processes at play when content travels across media. In other words, we need concepts, tools, and (sufficiently coherent) terminology to address and interpret modes of signification when multiple, conventionally differentiable media interact—not only between but also within texts. And that’s what
intermediality theory is for. I wrote my master’s thesis on H.P. Lovecraft, whose fiction spawned a transmedial cosmos (RPGs, movies,
videogames, gadgets of all sorts, more fiction based on his theory and practice of weird literature…)! But it was not until my doctoral work that I truly became aware of the possibilities afforded by intermediality theory proper.

MM: How did learning about intermediality theory help you develop ideas for your current research project?

SF: Being also a musician, I wanted to focus on a project that would give me the opportunity to interact with my two great passions at once:
literature and music. More specifically, my work concentrates on the
interplay between music, meaning, and interpretation through the
vantage point of Richard Powers’s musical novels. I discovered Powers’s prodigious fiction, to borrow an expression by Tom LeClair, thanks to Prof. Vellucci, who during a meeting told me about one of the author’s books that had music as its main subject (I think it was The Time of Our Singing). I guess you could say that musicianship fueled my interest for the author and his work, while intermediality gave me the conceptual
resources to investigate it at full force.

MM: To what extent is intermediality a relevant scholarly framework for research in the humanities in Italian-speaking academia?

SF: I would say that intermediality is alive and well in Italy; it certainly is here at Roma Tre University. The Department of Foreign
Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Roma Tre University has devoted significant energy and resources to media crossings between literature, drama, films, sound, and visual arts for quite a few years. Prof. Sabrina Vellucci is currently teaching a postgrad course named “North American Literatures and Visual Cultures,” and she coordinates OnStage!, a project on American theater, translation, and adaptation; Dr. Vincenzo Maggitti, who also teaches Anglo-American Literature at Roma Tre, holds a
special interest in the connection between literature and visual media as well. Additionally, this year Prof. Maddalena Pennacchia inaugurated and taught a doctoral seminar titled “Literature and Media.” She also
promoted an interdisciplinary doctoral seminar named “Sound Cultures,” which explored the role that sound takes on not only in oral and written traditions, but also in our everyday life. Featuring an in-session
collaborative performance between Brazilian jazz ensemble Briza (in which Prof. Pennacchia sang), Juliano Abramovay (Codarts), and
Chrysanthi Gkika (Greek lyricist), “Sound Cultures” was a locus where scholarly theory met artistic practice. We just thrive on intermediality!

Xavier Hernàndez i Garcia

Xavier Hernàndez i Garcia is a pre-doctoral researcher at the University of València, focusing on his PhD thesis on Joan Fuster and the interplay between music, aesthetics, and intermedial relations. He completed his degree in Catalan Language and Literature in 2018 and pursued a
Master’s Degree in Music as an Interdisciplinary Art. Xavier has
published articles on the relationships between music and other arts and has conducted research on various topics, including music in
cinematographic realism and the influence of composers on Catalan
writers. Michael Meister has asked Xavier about his current work on his doctoral thesis at CIMIG.

MM: How do you apply intermediality theory in your doctoral project?

XHG: My current project is about the Catalan author Joan Fuster. My
doctoral thesis focuses on how he speaks about music and how he
incorporates music in his poetry, essays, and aphorisms. Fuster tries to ‘translate’ into these texts his own experience of listening to musical works that he likes. I was very interested in the different ways with which writers can do that, for example through the imitation of form,
individual aspects of music but also evocation through literary images that are related to the reception that a certain composer or their works have had.

MM: Is intermediality a concept that you had encountered during your previous studies, or did you only encounter it here?

XHG: I only encountered intermediality when I started my PhD thesis. Before that I had also done a master’s program about music and the
relation of music with different arts, but I did not know about the
concept. […] At the same time, the concept of hypertextuality had its own research group at my old university and we had a lot of projects on it, which I was part of. The supervisor of my thesis, professor Carme Rivari, who is an expert in hypertextuality, was interested in going further than only covering relations between texts but also studying arts as a part of hypertextuality, in a sense looking at intermedial references. When I told her about the idea for my project, we started to look into these
hyper-artistic relations together. She already knew that intermediality was a thing and that in recent years it has grown in importance. I started studying it to develop a suitable methodology for my research project, as intertextuality and hypertextuality were not sufficient. I needed a
theoretical framework with more profundity for a doctoral project and
intermediality could offer that.

MM: How difficult is it to find sources on intermediality in the
language your thesis is written in, Catalan? Also, how do you integrate the English terminology into your Catalan thesis?

XHG: I have found some articles in Spanish, but the common
terminology is also applied in literary studies in Spanish and French. So translations into Romance languages exist. I think I am the first person who has translated them into Catalan, though. I also provide the English terminology in brackets after the Catalan translations. [...] I agree that
intermediality is more prevalent in anglophone contexts, but it is
definitely spreading, and humanities scholars in other languages are
discovering it too, which is important. In Catalan studies I have found
some people who engage in “interart” studies, but they do not use
terminologies derived from intermediality theory. Although there are works on the interrelation between music and literature, they do not
really work with a typology. One of my colleagues is studying the
Catalan writer Miquel de Palol, who in a novel imitated a work by Bach. I recommended intermediality theory to her, which helped her a lot.

(Nota bene: both interviews have been edited for brevity and clarity.)

Bookshelf Offerings

Cascelli, Antonio and Denis Condon, ed. Experiencing Music and
Visual Cultures: Threshold, Intermediality, Synchresis
. Routledge, 2021.

This essay collection gathers contributions by musicologists, art
historians, and film studies scholars who research visual and sonic
cultures as evoking, crossing, and blurring perceived borders.
The essays address various genres, time periods, and materialities from the Renaissance to the present, and from opera to television. One of the goals is to develop and apply a terminology that permits
cross-disciplinary conversations about how to fathom the myriad ways in which music and the visual arts intersect.

Born, Georgina, ed. Music and Digital Media: A Planetary
UCL Press, 2022.

Music and Digital Media: A Planetary Anthropology takes the digitization of music beginning in the 1980s as a point of departure for exploring the impact of this technological development on society at large. Born traces contemporary trends and musical practices in cultures from the Global North and South by bringing together a series of ethnographic studies that were conducted as part of the experimental research program
“Music, Digitisation and Mediation: Towards Interdisciplinary Music
Studies” (MusDig). The diverse set of studies collected in this book
promotes in-depth engagement with the sociocultural significance of music across academic disciplines.

Intermediality in the Classroom

While our university does not offer a degree program specifically focused on intermediality studies, CIMIG has been inviting colleagues who teach in this field to open their classes to BA students who are enrolled in the Certificate in Intermediality. CIMIG is also part of the Doctoral Program “Visual Cultures and Intermediality.” Here are a few more details:

Certificate in Intermediality

The certificate is offered for BA students in the humanities and consists of an introductory lecture, two proseminars (module 1), and three
seminars, one of which can be substituted by an internship (module 2).

Are you interested in hearing more? Please read this interview with our first alumnus, Michael Meister: Certificate in Intermediality: Theory and Practice - Zentrum für Intermedialität in Graz (CIMIG) (uni-graz.at)

Preview of Classes for WS 2023/24

  • 500.003: Fakultätsweites Basismodul: Making Meanings Across Arts and Media: An Introduction to Intermediality Theory (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Nassim W. Balestrini)
  • ENL.04465UB: Topics in Anglophone Literary Studies:
    Intermediality Theory I (Juliann Knaus, MA)
  • ENL.04464UB: Topics in Anglophone Literary Studies: Approaches to Reading Photography in American Literature (Dr. Marie Dücker)
  • 512.223: Specialized Topics in Anglophone Literary Studies: Ecocriticism in the Anthropocene (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Nassim W.
  • 511.321: Specialized Topics in Cultural Studies: The Kiss of Death: Painting in/and Literature (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christine Schwanecke)
  • ENP.02032UB: Cultural Studies Seminar: Graphic Novels and
    Animation Film (Ao.Univ.-Prof. Dr. Klaus Rieser)

Doctoral Programme in “Visual Cultures and Intermediality“

  • DQ WS 2023/24: 512.323: Acknowledge Poverty: Visual Culture Studies and Intermediality Studies (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Nassim
    Balestrini; Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sabine Flach; Assoz.-Prof. Dr. Judith
    Laister; Ao.Univ.-Prof. Dr. Klaus Rieser; Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christine Schwanecke)

Intermediality Around Town

Grazer Kunstverein (May 27–August 12)

Miloš Trakilović: Colorless Green Freedoms Sleep Furiously

Bosnian-Dutch multimedia artist Miloš Trakilović is concerned with the role of perception in the construction of meaning and the production of power. His new video essay Colorless Green Freedoms Sleep Furiously (2023), which centers on his mother’s memory of her flight from the war in Bosnia, will be shown alongside his previous work All But War is
(2020), a video installation that reflects on the visualization and mediatization of warfare. Across both works, Trakilović engages with various modes of visual meaning-making that range from analogue photography to digital image generation. He thus foregrounds their role in the formation of collective memory and the processes of individual

Heads up! Grazer Kunstverein is looking for interns to help with the
preparation and hosting of exhibitions and events. If you are enrolled in the CIMIG certificate program, you can replace one seminar (in module 2) with an internship. If you are interested in connecting with Grazer
Kunstverein, please contact cimig@uni-graz.at.

La Strada Kulturfestival (July 28–August 5)

Now in its 26th year, La Strada has become a household name for
innovative performance art in and around the city of Graz, transforming its public spaces into stages for artists from all across the world. A closer look at the performance schedule reveals that merging different media and artistic forms has taken center stage. Including anything from
plurimedial acrobatics performances like “The Pulse” to the immersive
interactive theater of “PUTSCH,” the events encourage audience
members to think about mediality in potentially unprecedented medial constellations.

“La Strada Graz always aims to include new artistic forms as part of its program and wants to present the audience with new and unfamiliar viewing patterns. Over the years the shift to intermedial practices by
innovative artist collectives was something that we observed with
interest and supported, which is why we gladly offer a stage to them to display their work,” explains Christiane Lenz, artistic assistant of the
festival and student at the University of Graz.


  • Gravity and other Myths – “The Pulse”
  • Das Planetenparty Prinzip – “PUTSCH”
  • Focus & Chaliwaté – “Dimanche”

Gleanings from past events . . .

Crossroads Festival (May 25–June 4)

The Crossroads Festival in Graz has a long history of bringing voices from the margins of society to the big screen. It has become known for its community character and for disseminating non-mainstream
discourses of high political and social relevance to a heterogeneous
audience. For years Crossroads has been providing opportunities to view and discuss recent high-quality audio-visual works, making Crossroads a valuable contributor to public education and nurturing an interest in
documentary film’s potential to address current issues.

This year’s iteration highlighted environmental justice and
gender-related discrimination under slogans such as Harvesting Hope, Earth Defenders, and Feminism for Everybody.

Crossroads Festival 2023

From the Director’s Desk

As the interviews above show, the academic year 2022/2023 has been a time period of fruitful international cooperation for the Centre for
Intermediality Studies in Graz. Not only have we welcomed two stellar international PhD students, but we also hosted a guest lecture by a
colleague from China in December 2022 and are currently preparing a one-year stay for a postdoctoral researcher from the same country. In Europe, the CIMIG has been developing its ties to the Center for Literary and Intermedial Crossings (CLIC) in Brussels, Belgium. I have had the
privilege of serving as the Lorand Chair in Intermediality 2022/23, which included a two-week stay in Brussels in February, during which I taught seminars, conducted research, and advised MA and PhD students. As a result, one of the PhD students from CLIC presented her project in the doctoral colloquium of the “Visual Cultures and Intermediality” program last month.

Further collaborative activities in research and teaching are being
prepared. As a long-term follow-up of Stefano Franceschini’s research stay, an Erasmus+ program with Universitá Roma III will be established in order to strengthen cooperation in the area of literature and
intermediality. Plans for joint activities with Prof. Dr. Irina Rajewsky at the “Gutenberg-Institut für Weltliteratur und schriftorientierte Medien” at the University of Mainz, Germany, are also underway and will be
reported on in later issues.

I do hope that you will subscribe to our newsletter. Suggestions and feedback are also welcome (feel free to write to cimig@uni-graz.at). A heartfelt shout-out goes to Michael Meister, BA BEd, who has been
instrumental in launching this publication.

— Nassim W. Balestrini, Director of CIMIG, Professor of American
Studies and Intermediality

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