Snowflakes and shadows: Giordano Bruno after Dick Higgins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Artist Dick Higgins (1938-1998), who coined the term ‘intermedia’, had a long and creative interest in the work of the late Renaissance philosopher Giordano Bruno (1548-1600). The major output of his engagement was the first translation of Bruno’s Latin work On the Composition of Images, Signs and Ideas (1591/1991). This work represented a semiotic model for intermedia theory before and beyond structuralism. It was introduced as ‘intermedial, as it were, between philosophy and a work of art’, and excerpts of the translation were first published on avant-garde poetry magazines. This chapter argues that Higgins performed a ‘creative misunderstanding’ of Bruno’s work. One of the most creative aspects of his misunderstanding was the form of concrete poetry that he called ‘snowflakes’, which he invented by ‘speculating on Bruno and poetry’. Analysis focuses on the concrete poem entitled The snowflakes of Giordano Bruno (1977), and it aims to show how this poetic invention sheds light on the theory of intermedia and translation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntermedial Encounters Between Image, Music, and Text
EditorsFabien Arribert-Narce, Al.
Place of PublicationBern
PublisherPeter Lang
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Publication series

NameEuropean Connections
PublisherPeter Lang


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