The scientific study of gesture and gestuality has been primarily embedded within a semiotic perspective where gestures are understood as visible bodily actions, communicating particular (extrinsic) messages (Kendon 2004). A different philosophical tradition takes the gesture to be a dynamic, selfdefining, emergent (and hence not formally or structurally predefined) activity whose meaning is not external to it but intrinsic to the (physical or mental) act (cf. MerleauPonty 1962, Deleuze 1981, Chatelet 2000). Gestures cannot be isolated from the intersubjective or intercorporal context of their articulation as they are inherently interactional.
Predominantly phenomenological, this presemiotic understanding of gesture emphasizes the central role of lived experience in the emergence and theorizing of gesture.
The presemiotic view of gesture and gestuality offers a perspective that allows for a unified (or at least commensurable) approach to gesture in language (sign languages, coverbal gestures) and in presumably nonverbal or nonlinguistic domains such as music, dance and the visual arts and offers a constructive setting for the bringing together of 1st and 3rd person perspectives on the phenomenon.
This emergentist perspective is now gaining tract also in the scientific world with the rise of enactive, embodied, interactionist and situated approaches to cognition (Fuchs & De Jaegher 2009, Thompson 2010). However the project to transform this philosophical perspective into a concrete experimental research program and the effort to bridge between the semiotic and presemiotic approaches are still very much in their infancy. Major open questions include:
- How to formalize the postsaussurian relations between form and meaning inherent to gesturing?
- How to formalize the notion of context within which a gesture emerges?
- How do we make sense together in a gestural mode? What is the respective role of
interaction and coconstruction in this dynamic process?
- How to identify (quantify, annotate..) emergent gestures from a third person perspective?
- How to systematically interrogate the first person perspective of gesturing?
- How to apply existing motion capture technologies to study emergent gestuality?
- Which kind of insight does mocap bring on coarticulation and synchronisation between articulators, and between ‘intergesturers’?
In this two day workshop we would like bring together researchers, philosophers and practitioners who are studying gestuality and gestural communication in both linguistic and nonlinguistics domains to present and discuss their respective projects and to exchange questions, tools and perspectives concerning the framing of research questions, novel methodologies and potential synergies.
This workshop is the first concrete action of a new research initiative of researchers from the SFL laboratory (CNRS/Paris8) and LIAS entitled DIG (Dynamic, Interaction, Gestuality). The first day of the workshop will consist of presentations and ample discussion time around projects of the DIG members (labodanse l abodanse.org , CIGALE http://cigale.labexartsh2h.fr/, Typannot ). The second day of the workshop will include presentations, poster session and time for discussion.
Presentations can be offered in either English or French