Sunday, September 16, 2007

What is Gesture?

The term 'gesture' itself is pretty loaded, and there are a wide variety of definitions that I've seen. For our purposes, however, perhaps it's more interesting to look at the different types of gestures.

This paper - - has a taxonomy that might prove useful. According to the paper, gestures can be classified according in a tree-like structure. We're mainly interested in Communicative gestures, and here's my paraphrasing of what the article says:
1. Mimetic gestures mimic an action e.g. dribbling a ball
2. Deictic gestures e.g pointing to something within a space
3. Referential gestures refer to the environment e.g. a circular motion that describes a steering wheel
4. Modalizing gestures change the meaning of what's being said e.g. a shrug of the shoulders

I'm not sure as to how exactly this will tie into our work, but I think it's important to have this sort of definition/classification as a guide throughout the semester. In addition, I think we could potentially do some simple animation to illustrate these types of gestures.

1 comment:

I Lien Ho said...

another definition of what is gesture, but not sure is it related to your research focus

Barthes states,"Something like the surplus of an action. The action is transitive, it seeks only to provoke an object, a result; the gesture is the indeterminate and inexhaustible total of reasons, pulsions, indolences which surround the action with an atmosphere."

Roland Barthes," Cy Twombly:Works on Paper", in The Responsibilities of Forms, tr. Richard Howard(Berkley: University of California Press, 1985),: p.106.