Before the beginning of the Intercultural Horizons Conference, Dr. Marianna Bolognesi will give a workshop entitled ‘Visual Metaphors, Intercultural Communication and Migration’ in Cagliari, Italy.
Visual metaphors are highly structured images with ad-hoc created visual incongruences that capture the viewer’s attention and push her to build one or more petaphorical correspondences between concepts that are depicted or cued by the image itself.
Such images are commonly used in advertising to highlight specific features of the product to be sold (a facial cream depicted next to a dandelion, to cue the lightness and delicacy of its texture), in social campaigns (the globe depicted as a melting cone, to suggest the effects of global warming), in political cartoons (recently, prophet Mohammad depicted as a patient on a wheelchair and as other non-sacred characters, in Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons), as well as in several illustrations used for educational and artistic purposes.
The power of visual metaphors is multifaceted. In the field of intercultural communication visual metaphors allow expression of concepts that might not have a linguistic equivalent in a foreign language, concepts that appear as taboo in a foreign culture, concepts with a heavy emotional connotation, or abstract concepts that are otherwise hard to express through words. For these reasons, knowing how these images are constructed is crucial for intercultural practitioners.
In this workshop, the inner structure of these images will be investigated, and different models for visual metaphor identification and analysis will be presented and applied to images that relate to the field of intercultural communication and migration. The workshop is led by Dr. Marianna Bolognesi, who has been recently awarded with a EU Marie Curie research fellowship. Dr. Bolognesi is currently working on visual metaphors at the Metaphor Lab.