Derived from the Latin verb “gerere”—to carry, act, or do—“gesture” has accrued critical currency but has remained undertheorized. Migrations of Gesture addresses this absence and provides a complex theory on the value of gesture for understanding human sign production.
Gestures migrate from body to body, from one medium to another, and between cultural contexts. Juxtaposing distinct approaches to gesture in order to explore the ways in which they at once shape and are influenced by culture, the contributors examine the works of writers Henri Michaux and Stéphane Mallarmé, photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, and filmmakers Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Martin Arnold, along with cultural practices such as gang walking, ballet, and classical Indian dance. The authors move deftly between an organic, phenomenal appreciation of human expression and a historicist, semiotic understanding of how the “human” is itself created through gestural routines.
Contributors: Mark Franko, Ketu H. Katrak, Akira Mizuta Lippit, Susan A. Phillips, Deidre Sklar; Lesley Stern, Blake Stimson.