top of page


Audiovisual installation Third Meaning.

Author: Natallia Nenarokomova

Supervisor: Prof. Almira Ousmanova

Technical supervision: Ales Patapenka, Aliaksei Siaduro and Kirill Kalbasnikau

First video from audiovisual installation

"Third Meaning".
Based on S. Eisenstein's film

"Ivan the Terrible" (1944)

The audiovisual installation The Third Meaning was created as part of the Bachelor thesis In Search of the Third Meaning: Corporeality in Audiovisual Installations (2015, European Humanities University, Vilnius). The Third Meaning first took place within the framework for the Roland Barthes: Keywords exhibition (May 29, 2015) in the Gallery of Modern Art, TSEH (Minsk, Belarus).


The theory of the third or obtuse meaning developed by French philosopher Roland Barthes, aims at discovering a non-articulated meaning in cinematographic images, the meaning that lies beyond language and provides access to a completely different experience. The third meaning (which is "the cinematic" as such) pivots on the mechanism by which “the basic centre of gravity . . . is transferred to inside the fragment, into the elements included in the image itself. And the centre of gravity is no longer the element “’between shots’” – the shock – but the element "’inside the shot’" – the accentuation within the fragment.”

This installation is a cinematic adaptation of Roland Barthes' work. Two screens placed opposite one another display Sergei Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible (1944). One hundred and sixty close-ups from the film [as a result of extreme slow-motion and looping] turn into separate, autotelic and completed photograms that establish a close, simultaneous interconnection. The installation is a chance to see the films’ structures, to focus on a single frame and to envisage the film’s narrative horizon.


However, the story is no longer significant, we are not talking about the destruction, but about the re-structuralisation of dominants, which offer the possibility for the viewer to create their own narrative. “Imagine 'following' not Euphrosyne's schemings, nor even the character (as diegetic entity or symbolic figure), nor even, again, the face of the Wicked Mother, but merely, in this face, this attitude, this black veil, the heavy, ugly flatness- you will then have a different time-scale, neither diegetic nor oneiric, a different film” (Roland Barthes, The Third Meaning: Research Notes on Some Eisenstein Stills).


Eisenstein wrote that, “A film is not simply to be seen and heard but to be scrutinized and listen to attentively.” That does not mean “Some simply need to apply the mind...but rather a veritable mutation of reading and its object, text or film.” And if perception becomes the concept, time has to slow down and become a metaphor for contemplation. "The Third Meaning” is an installation-reflection, which refers primarily to the experience of the audience. It works at the affective level, at a personal level and, simultaneously, ahistorical experience. A close-up turns a face into affective material, image-emotion that is independent from cinematic space and time. Eisenstein's faces are blank sheets, face-images that free the space for the viewer’s own experience. 


The sound design for the installation is developed from the film’s original soundtrack that has been transformed in order to make it resonate with this space; comprised of deep, sub-bass frequencies, chimes and female voice choirs interrupted by extracts from Roland Barthes' work. The Third Meaning is an attempt to reach the psycho-physiological sound of each frame in order to derive the third meaning from the language and transfer it to the domain of the physical and corporeal. The audiovisual installation establishes a method for studying non-representational aspects in image and an opportunity to experiment with the viewer’s perception.

Second video from audiovisual installation "Third Meaning".
Based on S. Eisenstein's film

"Ivan the Terrible" (1944)

Sound for AV installation "Third Meaning"

bottom of page