A model of audiovisual analysis where focus is on audiovisual aesthetics perceived physically and affectively is presented. Starting from the assumption that image and sound are inseparable in audiovisual media and must be treated as a unit, a “synchresis”, it is proposed that only this premise is able to cover the pre-consciously perceived elements sufficiently, namely the sensorial and affective structures of audiovisual aesthetics. Aspects for an audiovisual aesthetics concentrated on the interfaces between audiovisual perception and audiovisual design are articulated employing to this end the Aristotelian concept of aisthesis. Following the theory of cognitive metaphors (Lakoff and Johnson), audiovisual codes and signs always rely fundamentally on schemata of physical and affective experience. Following George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, the mapping of physical schemata are regarded onto acoustic, visual, and, respectively, audiovisual elements in the media as a metaphorical process. Drawing on an example of film sound, it’s explained how filmmakers project acoustic qualities onto visual Gestalt patterns and thereby construct audiovisual metaphors that we recognize immediately and long before we reflect on them, that is, they activate meanings that rely on basic experiences of our body.
Article originally appeared in: “CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture: a www Journal”, V. 7, n. 4, 2005. Reprinted with permission.