Overview: Funded by UNC Global, the Departments of Communications and Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Graduate School at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, this weeklong workshop explores the theme of “risky understanding” as it applies to both the aesthetic dimension and everyday communication. How do ambiguity and multimodality operate in concrete processes of communication and understanding? What risks do they incur? How does the aesthetic make meaning out of ambiguity? How do media productively engage in techniques of complexity and disambiguation? These overarching questions shall serve as the basis for plenary sessions and thematic workshops offered by local and visiting scholars.