Image-Language Dialectics in Greek Caricatures

TitleImage-Language Dialectics in Greek Caricatures
Publication TypeBooks
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsPastra, K, Balta, E, Dimitrakis, P, Mpandavanou, E, Lada, M
Series TitleResearch Studies
PublisherJohn Latsis Foundation

How does meaning emerge in caricatures? Which is the role of sketch and natural language in the “language” of caricatures? The current study investigates -for the first time internationally- the basic mechanisms of sketch and language integration through which the “magic” of the caricature meaning emerges. The main objective of the study is the investigation of the semantic relations between sketch and language and thus, of the conceptual correlations and logical inferences that take place during such interaction. Using COSMOROE, a new, theoretical and computational descriptive framework for the analysis of cross-media semantic relations, 300 Greek caricatures have been annotated in terms of such relations. All annotation took place within a computational annotation environment and all related annotations have been stored in a database. A search engine for exploring this database has been developed, as well as a digital booklet with detailed examples of analyzed caricatures. Last, a multi-faceted statistical analysis of part of the caricature corpus has led to preliminary findings, regarding the sketch-language interaction. The study argues that every caricature is a “world” of semantic relations, built through sketch-language interaction. This world comprises of a chain of semantic relations between visual elements only, when the caricature has no natural language at all. When natural language is present, the message comprises of one or more semantic relations between visual and language elements, which may create chains of relations with each other and/or with: a) visual only or textual only caricature elements, through which the information load of their arguments is enriched and b) implied concepts, that are necessary in formulating semantic relations between any elements of the caricature.