Many thanks to Prof. Michael Toolan, plenary speaker and IALS board member, for his report on the IALS Symposium (18-20 October 2018, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland).
Text-Image-Music was the conference title, echoing the famous title of the Barthes essays, in translation, of 40 years ago, and true to this theme, many papers explored the transmedial and intermedial connections between these forms. Many papers approached metaphor, ekphrasis, and cross-media reinterpretation or representation in one way or another, looking at a rich variety of cultural traditions, from the ancient to the contemporary, and from all parts of the world. Other prominently explored themes or intellectual traditions included synaesthetics, phenomenology, and cognitive poetics.
There were two and half days of fascinatingly varied presentations, but all linked to the intermedial theme, and three plenary talks, with plenty of thoughtful discussion and questioning following each talk and in the lunch and coffee breaks.
Everything was presided over with great flair and a warm-heartedness that people responded to by Elzbieta, and she in turn was ably assisted by several colleagues and students. The setting was one of the University’s very modern, extremely well appointed buildings: a pleasure to confer in! I think a particular attraction of the conference was that, beyond the studies of text-image relations and interaction, a number of speakers addressed the relations between music and those other two modes. A session on the final day with talks from three music specialists (composers and theorists) from McGill stands out, but other talks, too, linked music to text and/or images.
All in all, a most enjoyable event; and Krakow, with its 50k students, range of cafes and restaurants and museums not to mention da Vinci’s famous portrait of the mysterious Cecilia Gallerani, was a pleasure to visit.
Prof. Michael Toolan, University of Birmingham, UK