Volume 3 · Number 3 · Pages 260–268
"Walking and Falling." Language as Media Embodiment

Sibylle Moser

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Purpose: This paper aims to mediate Josef Mitterer’s non-dualistic philosophy with the claim that speaking is a process of embodied experience. Approach: Key assumptions of enactive cognitive science, such as the crossmodal integration of speech and gesture and the perceptual grounding of linguistic concepts are illustrated through selected performance pieces of multimedia artist Laurie Anderson. Findings: The analysis of Anderson’s artistic work questions a number of dualisms that guide truth-oriented models of language. Her performance pieces demonstrate that language is both sensually enacted and conceptually reflected through the integration of iconic signing (e.g. sound play, dance) with symbolic communication. Moreover, Anderson’s artistic practice demonstrates that media such as voice, gesture and recording technologies realize different forms of embodied language. Benefits: Media aesthetics in the vein of embodied cognition can overcome a number of the dualisms that inform analytical philosophy of language, linguistics, and communication studies, such as perceptual/conceptual meaning, iconicity/symbolicity, emotion/cognition, body/technology and voice/script.

Key words: language, embodiment, media, aesthetics, performance art.


Moser S. (2008) "walking and falling." language as media embodiment. Constructivist Foundations 3(3): 260–268. http://constructivist.info/3/3/260

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