From parallelogram to tower? Texts-Contexts-Paratexts. A Study of the Hamsun Center in a document theory perspective
AuthorFaaland, Maryline Sinniger
The focus of attention of this thesis is the paratext (Genette, Seuils, 1987). In Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation (1997) Genette advances his theory on the role of paratexts in the elaboration of a book. He shows how “every context serves as a paratext” and foresees in the end that the concept can be extended to other forms of artistic expression than the written text. The construction built for the Hamsun Center in Hamarøy seems to be a perfect example of the power of paratexts and “the illocutionary force of its message”. The first part of the study is a formal analysis of the notion of text in regard to the notion of paratext. Both building and content seem to be the result of contextual paratexts. The shape of the building at the Hamsun Center creates a paratext and questions the role of materiality and embodiment of ideas. Ephemeral or perennial character of exhibits and activities bear paratextual significance. Particularly, a new trend of exhibits is based on a “live” experience involving body and senses. The study, conducted at the Hamsun Center in Hamarøy in the summer and the fall of 2013, shows how the Center is perceived by the visiting public and how it compares to aims and expectations of conceivers and public. Mediation is another factor that can help measure the impact of paratexts. The role of paratexts in remediation serves as a further demonstration of their influence on the public as well as on the character and mode of their presentation. In the end, the remediation process redefines the Writing Space and helps consider a symbolic transfer from text to sign. The conclusion points out the underestimated coercive power of paratexts. Generally applied to the written text, the possibility to transfer a paratextual analysis to a three dimensional architectural artifact, refutes the idea of an “immutable character” to the notion of text as advanced by Genette.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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