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Re-presentation(s) in text and image: transfer, influence, fracture

Re-présentation(s) dans le texte et l’image : transfert, influence, fracture

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Published on Tuesday, December 07, 2021 by Lucie Choupaut


Ce deuxième colloque des doctorant·es et jeunes chercheur·es se propose d’étudier la relation entre l’objet et sa représentation, abordée sur le mode de l’écart et de la distance, ou du refus de cette dualité : la représentation est nécessaire mais insuffisante à cause de cette dichotomie. Cette problématique pourra inspirer des travaux dans divers champs des sciences humaines et sociales.



Representation is defined as “the action, the fact of representing; the result of such an action” (CNRTL dictionary). Among the many senses of the term both in common language and in its scientific uses, we find the idea of “making something present to someone by showing it, by making it known” or “in the form of a substitute or through the use of an artefact” or else of “making something present by its existence, its own presence”. Representation is used in numerous contexts, mainly in arts (visual, literary, dramatic representations, etc.), in science, more particularly in the humanities (mental, cultural representations, etc.) and in politics (representative democracy, etc.). In the fields of philosophy and psychology, representation more specifically points to “what constitutes the concrete content of an act of thought”.

When representation results from the will to indicate presence, with or without the use of an artefact or a medium, it completely falls within the dynamics of discrepancy – discrepancy between the thing itself and what stands for it, between the signified and the signifier. Thus, the hyphen in “re-presentation” is an invitation to explore the unsolvable yet productive tension between an object, its presentation and its presentation once again, in a new light. Does re-presenting amount to copying, creating, or always both? Is there a distinction in kind between the thing being represented (real, “represented”) and what represents it (artificial, “representing”), or should we examine both objects together, in a “fluctuating continuum[1]”? In fact, we perpetually question the relevance of the notion of representation and its uses, which signals “a crisis of representations[2].”

We propose to study the relationship between an object and its representation, focusing on discrepancy and distance, or on the refusal of such a duality: representation is necessary but insufficient because of such dichotomy. This line of questioning may inspire studies in varied disciplines among the humanities. The three axes that we suggest follow an outward movement away from the “re-presented” object:

  • Transfer is what occurs when characteristics of an object, or the whole object, are – deliberately or not – borrowed to present the object elsewhere. In other words, the notion of transfer points to the most explicit and self-aware relationship between the object and its representation. One can consider translation as the ultimate manifestation of transfer since it consists in “de-territorialising the field of study and research beyond one precise cultural and linguistic area[3]”. We also propose to include the issue of adaptation and its variations, that is to say any form of reinterpretation of the original object (rewriting, palimpsest, parody, pastiche, etc.) as well as reiteration, reactualisation and the Deleuzian notion of deterritorialisation. In contemporary fiction, this unremitting “re-presentation” could be illustrated by the abundance of propositions displaying, beyond the original text (“the afterlife of a memorable fixture[4]), canonical characters that have become cultural objects and that are constantly reinvented in order to comment on reality through the prism of a unifying – if not hegemonic – intertext, and to serve contemporary issues (between faithfulness and irreverence, homage and détournement, conservatism and subversion).
  • Influence, the second axis we suggest, is a process that relies on the condition of two poles/actors communicating: the influencer and the influenced. This notion makes it possible to study the decisions and behaviours of those who are influenced, particularly in literary and artistic creation, be it through (in)direct or (in)visible influence.

Influence happens when re-presentation is marked, not necessarily on purpose, and more vaguely, by the original object. Influence as a notion therefore enshrines re-presentation in time in a more distinctive way than transfer does since it brings up the question of the ties between the context of re-presentation and the past; between an integrated legacy which confers us with an organic approach of the world and the things we are able to say and think about this inherited world in the present.

In the field of language sciences, this concept can be connected to two main orientations: the first describes the strategies considered as “external” to the process produced to convince an interlocutor and primarily relies on the obligation or the use of constraining strategies forcing individuals into determinate actions. The second orientation considers influence as a communication process: through this approach, influence is mainly based on “symbolic transactions[5]”, on the manipulation of symbols in which communication plays an active and essential part. The idea of manipulation, often connotated with negative intentions, can also be associated with the notion of persuasion.

  • Finally, fracture implies breaking the ties with the legacy of the original object. A conflicted, and even violent relationship surfaces between object and re-presentation. This then raises the question of the irrepresentable, and of the inadequacy of mediums and their languages.

Fracture, as considered through the angle of re-presentation, can be studied from at least two angles: traditionally, this leads to an analysis of re-presentation as a notion with a focus on the hyphen, a bridge as connecting as it is fragile. It can also lead to a critique of the notion itself: the alternative between continuity and distance depends on a naturalistic comprehension of representation which first and foremost predicates the world of present and given objects, available to —although potentially non-resorbable into— the representative retake which unveils the world of facts of representation; the borders and the interface of such a world being the act of representation itself. The fracture starts with the suspension of the natural attitude: the “given” is then understood as a “fact”, a preceding and instituted act, a historical and “desanctuarised” production, and becomes questionable in view of the world it contributes to structure and extend but also of the effects of said extension. All this makes way for possible reassessment, for sometimes violent accusations of the “facts” that structure the world of representations we all live in, from which we can at times feel excluded and, in some ways, to which we can sometimes feel estranged. Thus, fracture would also refer to the building of an imagery of discrepancy that would break ties with the Old by using it as a deterrent, and create a new regime of representation accepting the preeminence and kinetic energy of the act to reorganize the field of the instituted “given”; the instituting invasion of an element that does not fit in because it does not belong, but nonetheless claims a space of its own.

Participants are invited to reflect on the following themes:

  • Cultural transfer
  • Cultural appropriation
  • Translation
  • Intertextuality
  • Intermediality
  • Adaptation
  • Travel writing
  • The arbitrariness of the sign
  • The material of representation
  • Proliferation and saturation
  • Critical discourse on art
  • The representation of the scientific discourse
  • The notion of post-truth

Submission guidelines

Propositions of presentation, in French or in English, of 300 to 500 words as well as a short bio-bibliography must be addressed to colloque.hcti2022@gmail.com

before February 15th, 2022.

Acceptance notifications will be sent to participants by the end of February 2022.

The symposium will take place on June 8th and 9th, 2022 at Victor Segalen Faculty, University of Western Brittany, Brest.

Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes. Priority will be given to presentations from doctoral students and young researchers.

Selected contributions might be published in Motifs, the online journal of the HCTI research unit.

Scientific committee members

  • Nadine Asmar (CNU 18),
  • Stanislas Derrien (CNU 11),
  • Lisa Haristoy (CNU 11),
  • Raphaël Haudidier (CNU 11),
  • Javier Reyes (CNU 7),
  • Carole Roudot (CNU 11),
  • Diana Rodová (CNU 10),
  • Semyon Tanguy-André (CNU 17),
  • Fujuan Wang (CNU 7).

Organisation committee members

Nadine Asmar, Stanislas Derrien, Morgane Lebouc, Carole Roudot, Adnana Sava, Fujuan Wang.

This symposium is organized with the support of the HCTI (Heritages and Constructions in Text et Image) research unit (head: Pr. Alain Kerhervé) and of the school of doctoral studies “Arts, Lettres, Langues” (assistant director of ED ALL for the site of Brest: Pr. Nelly Blanchard).


[1] Schaeffer, Jean-Marie. « Fiction et croyance. » Art, création, fiction : entre sociologie et philosophie, edited by Nathalie Heinich and Jean-Marie Schaeffer. Actes Sud, 2004, pp.163-186. Translations are ours.

[2] Heinich, Nathalie. « Les frontières de l’art contemporain : entre essentialisme et constructivisme. » Les frontières esthétiques de l’art, edited by Claude Amey and Jean-Paul Olive. L’Harmattan, 2000, pp.125-136.

[3] Lüsebrink, Hans-Jürgen. « Les transferts culturels : théorie, méthodes d’approche, questionnements. » Transfert : Exploration d’un champ conceptuel, edited by Pascal Gin et al., Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa, 2014, pp.25-48.

[4] Letissier, Georges. « The Havisham Affair or the Afterlife of a Memorable Fixture », Études anglaises, vol. 65, no. 1, 2012, pp. 30-42.

[5] Miller, Gerald R. “On being persuaded. Some basic distinctions.” The Persuasion Handbook: Developments in Theory and Practice, edited by James Price Dillard and Michael Pfau. Sage, 2010, pp.3-16.


  • Faculté Victor Segalen, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, 20 Rue Duquesne
    Brest, France (29200)

Event format

Full on-site event


  • Tuesday, February 15, 2022


  • représentation, re-présentation, texte, image, transfert, influence, fracture


  • Derrien Stanislas
    courriel : colloque [dot] hcti2022 [at] gmail [dot] com

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Derrien Stanislas
    courriel : colloque [dot] hcti2022 [at] gmail [dot] com

To cite this announcement

« Re-presentation(s) in text and image: transfer, influence, fracture », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, December 07, 2021, https://calenda.org/944130

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