Katalin Sándor

E-mail address: sandorkati17@gmail.com
Home institution: Babeş?Bolyai University, Department of Hungarian Linguistics
Academic position: assistant lecturer
Areas of research: intermediality, image?text relations, visual poetry
Title of the presentation: (Re)collecting Sensations in Dubravka Ugrešić?s The Museum of Unconditional Surrender 

Most important Publications

  • Nyugtalanító írás/képek. A vizuális költészet intermedialitásáról. [Unsettling image/texts. On the Intermediality of Visual Poetry] EME, Kolozsvár, 2011.

Title of the presentation

(Re)collecting Sensations in Dubravka Ugrešić?s The Museum of Unconditional Surrender 


The sensual, phenomenological dimensions of experiencing media products, artworks and literature seem to gain more and more attention in the humanities: Henk Oosterling approaches intermediality from a philosophical point of view and perceives the medial in -between as something sensational rather than conceptual. He argues for the experience of sensable reflectivity which cannot be contained within conceptual, discursive or hermeneutic approaches. In Laura U. Marks?s phenomenological film theory haptic visuality is related to an embodied and material perception. Haptic perception foregrounds the sensuality of the medium rather than conceptual meaning. For Marks the unsettling experience of perception is shaped by the continuous flow between haptic visuality and optical visuality, the latter requiring a reflexive (aesthetic) distance and abstraction. In the above-mentioned approaches the reception of artworks is conceived as an embodied experience, a continuous flow between the conceptual and the sensual which presupposes an embodied subject. How does this relate to the novel discussed in this paper?

The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by the Croatian writer Dubravka Ugrešić is an essayistic novel which displays different modalities of memory-work, of (re)making the self, the past (and present) within the experience of exile after the fall of the former Yugoslavia. The narrator ?doing? the work of remembrance seems to be a collector renouncing any totalizing narrative: the stories, the fragments and the sensual traces of the past are narrated in a text which is continually disrupted by the practice of collage and collecting. Collage can be perceived as a cultural practice of recontextualization which may turn reality into a quotation and may problematize the border between the semantic and the non-semantic, between the conceptual and the sensual. In the novel collage is not only a modality of ?working on? a dismembered memory but also a way of mediating and (re)collecting sensual traces of the past which cannot be contained within a linear (or totalizing) narrative. In the process of exile and continuous dislocation the narrator?s encounter with cultural otherness is sometimes linked to sensations, to the sensorial perception of the Other (or the self as other). Noise, sound, smell, touch, vision are sensorial experiences which expose the remembering exile as an embodied subject. Reading itself is foregrounded as a hetereogenous and embodied experience which implies not only conceptual, intellectual practices but also corporeal perceptions.

The present paper will discuss the role of (re)collecting sensations and the way in which the sensational becomes a culturally marked and unsettling experience for the narrator in her relation to memory, past and identity. It will also reflect on the way collage and collecting become a modality of mediating the sensational.

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