The Kiss: ekphrastic poetry, enargeia and the immersive installation

Cassandra Atherton, Paul Hetherington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Imperial Greek rhetoricians defined ecphrasis as ‘descriptive speech which brings the subject shown before the eyes with visual vividness’ (Squire 2015: n.p.), since which time understandings of ekphrasis have evolved and narrowed. Recently, however, definitions of ekphrasis have been expanding to incorporate new media, digital images and augmented reality that engage with haptic and auditive experiences. The ancient concept of energeia—‘the evocation of a visual scene in all its details and colours’ (Cave 1976: 6)—is relevant to these new understandings, including in the presentation of the kind of archival material housed in the Helen Shea collection at Emerson College. Digital ekphrasis, such as one finds in the Klimt: The Immersive Experience installation, open up possibilities for fluid and wide-ranging representations of archival material, along with powerful considerations of this material’s relationships to complex social interactions. Such digital ekphrasis is able to evoke visual scenes in great detail and cast new and creative light on ekphrastic relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalAxon: Creative Explorations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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