21 September 2016: Transtechnology Research Seminar

Hogarth’s Dog: Devices, Narrative and Illusion

21st September 2016, 12noon in Link Building, floor 3, Plymouth University

Transtechnology Research Seminar by Dr. Hannah Drayson and Prof. Michael Punt


Following from Sedgwick and Frank’s (1995) Shame in the Cyberetic Fold, Hannah Drayson will gloss the discussion surrounding the concept of affect in the arts and humanities to explore the question of what the notion offers as a foil for creative agency, experiment and speculation. She will look at some examples of how affect can be seen to manifest through media forms to open up the series themes of device, narrative and illusion.

There will be a short participatory workshop in which Michael Punt will allow us to consider the analogy of Hogarth’s dog in his “Self-portrait with a Pug Dog” (c.1759) and in the later engraving “The Bruiser” (c.1762) as an example of cognitive innovation.

The full seminar programme for the year can be seen here.


The notion of affect in the arts has been the topic of much theoretical, critical and practical response to art, design and architecture, and by extension to other human artefacts involving creativity including technology and media form. However, the understanding of affect often involves a contradiction; the manifestation of affect is regarded by many as both discontinuous with its expression and, consequently, only partially accessible to others. The issue here is one of an apparent failure to connect the subjectivity of expression with that of the receiver.

The imperative to bridge the gap between the experience of affect and its expression is arguably one of the key drivers of invention and creativity. One of the tactics in this on-going endeavour to articulate affect has been to use figures of speech or visual devices (such as metaphor, irony, and allegory, among others) for artistic effect. In these, the gap between the intended concept and the shared understanding is regarded as a rhetorical device that acknowledges, and even amplifies, the inevitable partiality of any representation.

In this seminar series we will identify established tropes of affect in the creative disciplines shared by researchers based in Transtechnology Research.

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