Images “In Unknown Gardens”: University Students Challenged to Interpret a Piece of Literature by Making a Video

By Emilie Martinez.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

University students attending my contemporary literature class took part in a project, which sheds new light on the potentials of visual literacy in educational contexts, and on the advantages of incorporating unknown images and images of the Unknown in relation to literary works. Following the concept of task-based learning, the goal was to make a video representing the Unknown in Peter Stamm’s "In Unknown Gardens" ("In fremden Gärten"). Stamm’s work was received based on the hermeneutic tradition. Individual representations of the Unknown played a major role in the making of the video. Regina is an elderly Swiss lady whose house becomes an empty, unknown place after her husband’s death. The physical and mental presence of the Unknown grows with her loneliness. When Regina eventually meets an Australian exchange student, in whom she perceives parts of herself she used to know well, she suddenly feels the return of her youthful strength. My presentation will analyze a video made by international students. Group reflections on the role of the Unknown in the literary work proved to be very helpful to students in picking known and unknown places, objects, and gestures to represent, in images, Regina’s mental and physical evolution—in unknown gardens.

Keywords: Images of the Unknown, Pedagogic Potentials of Visual Literacy, Literary Works in Images

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.43-51. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 354.177KB).

Emilie Martinez

PhD candidate; German Teacher, Department of German as a Foreign Language, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Thuringia, Germany

I am a PhD candidate at Friedrich Schiller University (FSU) in Jena, Germany. I am very interested in the use of images and visual art in the foreign language classroom. In my free time, I also make art myself, especially paintings. I studied for one year at the School of Fine Arts in Toulouse, France before I started studying foreign languages in France and in Germany, where I received my B.A. in English as a Foreign Language and my M.A. in German as a Foreign Language. I have been teaching German as a Foreign Language and German Literature at Spanish and German universities for three years. I also took part in international conferences in Brazil, Germany, the UK, and Poland.