Images, sounds and language all represent sensually different processes of perception and cognition. As media for the generation, communication and depiction of feelings and knowledge, they are important actors in the dynamics of social understanding and self-understanding. Hence, they are frequently also privileged witnesses of historical change and transformation.
Until the end of the 20th century it was common currency in the humanities that culture was essentially a world of discursive symbols and contexts to be read and understood like a text. After the turn of the Millennium, however, the epistemic hierarchy of language, images and sound was increasingly called into question. Digital means of recording and representation have blurred the borders, leading to new forms of interdependence. It is all the more important, then, to reflect anew upon the theoretical foundations of image, sound and language and discuss their interferences and differences.
The Fritz Thyssen Foundation endeavours to stimulate and support research projects at this interface. The Foundation concentrates its support on theoretical analyses of visual, acoustic and language-recognition processes and representational forms as well as projects focusing on their new or altered interrelationships. Special preference is given to projects in disciplines such as art history and philosophy – disciplines that make use of a complex concept of images within a broader transdisciplinary study. Projects are especially welcome which leave the beaten track, which establish links and interrelations between separate disciplines, or which take up inter-faculty problems. Also welcome are projects which deal with the logic of language, sounds, images and the relation of their aesthetic and cognitive achievements or their instrumental role in processes of social representation.