© Copyright Alan Prohm 2004 – All Rights Reserved
Visual Poetics: Meaning Space from Mallarmé to Metalheart, Stanford, Comparative Literature, 2004. Develops a reception theory of visual poetries in terms of the perceptual and cognitive resources at their disposal, in particular spatiality as a body-based semantics. Covering visual poetry and graphic design from 1897 to 2001 (US & European; print, digital, and architectural), it investigates the expanding role of 3-D space, and of embodied visual ‘reading’, in the experience of this work. Combines methodologies from literary theory, art history, aesthetics, semiotics, psychology of perception, and cognitive linguistics.
The theoretical core of my disseration was a methodological innovation to study questions of reader response to visual texts empirically. With the generous supervision of Dr. Barbara Tversky (Stanford Psychology), I developed an empirical testing procedure that allowed me to incorporate statistical data into literary analyses of visual textual experience.
Further developments. Since publication, the arc of research has continued approximately as follows, extending this visual poetics towards a poetics beyond medial boundaries:
(background: “Chapman Brothers” Warren Neidich 2008, from the wrong rainbow series.)