I am new to this whole area – so what I have to say may be obvious or complete rubbish and I have never blogged before, but here goes:
My reading of the given literature gives me the impression that semiotics is a subject that is still a matter of huge debate and argument. Basically it seems to me that semiotics is an understanding of how we understand, compartmentalise and communicate the complexity of our world both personal (integral) and environmental (external). It is this compartmentalisation and simplification that allows us to share complex ideas and to develop knowledge of the world rather than just experience it.
It occurred to me that our capacity to do this rather than actual verbalisation (ability to speak) could be what allows sentient thought and what separates Human beings from other animals?
Am I stating the obvious or is this a step too far?
The strength of Chandlers view of semiotics when applied to visual arts practice is that one can get across complex narratives or even open up new thought processes within a piece of art by the combination of different signs. Different combinations or contexts will give subtly or different meaning or set up interesting tensions within the piece of work. Indeed combinations of signs that are not usually associated together or are contradictory can open up whole new areas of thought, association and meaning. A good example of this in the text is the observation on Magritte’s image of the pipe.
In contrast, are the assertions of Saussure quoted in Chandler’s text, where he says that a chess piece is a chess piece irrespective of the material it is made of. However if you manufacture chess pieces from frozen blood for instance they do take on a new meaning, alluding to notions of war games, blood and death etc. Uses of unusual combinations of symbols can create ambiguity leading the viewer to create many different narratives trying to understand the work, it can also result in unintentional themes and narratives within the work albeit subconscious or just new unplanned nuances. This is especially so, since interpretation depends also on an individual’s personal experiences.