Kathrin Fahlenbrach: Metaphorical Spaces, Moods and Symbolic Meanings in Complex TV-Series

In complex TV series (Mittell 2015), the stylistic creation of audiovisual spaces is a key element to involve viewers into challenging diegetic worlds. Viewers are confronted with spatio-temporal structures in a TV narrative first of all by perceiving, experiencing and interpreting the spaces that frame a character's actions and expressions. Hence the styles of televisual spaces are the very medium of cognitive, affective and symbolic meanings.

After a more general outline of this research perspective, a specific focus of the talk will be on the aesthetic interplay of spatial atmospheres, moods, and metaphoric meanings in single TV series. Following Plantinga (2014), cinematic moods can imply moral perspectives on a character. As will be shown, also in TV series spatial atmospheres of audiovisual spaces can imply "moral moods" that relevantly guide viewers cognitive and emotional evaluation of a character. This is equally true for other, more symbolic meanings, anchored in the narrative of a storyworld. – Using the example of the Netflix-Series “Bloodline” (2015-2017), the stylistic, emotional and symbolic elements of televisual spaces will be analyzed both on the local scale of single episodes and on the global scale across the serial world. It will be discussed how the global dynamics of televisual spaces can result in varying, contrasting, diverging and ambivalent creations of recurring spaces, relevantly contributing to the viewers experience of complexity.

Kathrin Fahlenbrach is professor for media studies at the Department for Media and Communication at the University of Hamburg (Germany). Her main research fields are: emotion and cognition in audiovisual media; embodied metaphors in film, TV series, and in video games; images in protest movements and in online-activism. Her works include: (2010): Audiovisuelle Metaphern. Zur Körper- und Affektästhetik in Film und Fernsehen [Audiovisual Metaphors. Embodied & affective aesthetics in film and television] Marburg: Schüren-Verlag; (2016): Embodied Metaphors in Film, Television, and Video Games: Cognitive Approaches (edited volume) New York/London: Routledge.

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