Post 1 Semiotics

'the word is not the thing'

Blog referencing Chandler, Semiotics: The Basics, Routledge, 2001

Chandler’s position ‘that writing is representation and that any notion of the real is constructed within the text’ needs the addition of a reader to do the construction.

This is another way of expressing the philosophy that ‘the word is not the thing’. John Berger writes on this In the image above (Magritte), ‘this is not a pipe‘ we conclude that it is not a pipe it is an image. This is complicated by the fact that the words are not even words, they are an image of words!

In Saussure’s semiotic stance the writing (without an image) is the signifier and the real is how the reader interprets the writing to become the signified.

The application of Peirce’s triad to interpret the relationship defines the words as the sign vehicle ; the reader is the referent; the sense is the reader’s construction of the real in his/her thought processes.

In visual art, the film, video, installation or painting is a representation in signs, of what the maker/artist wants to portray (the thing). How the viewer interprets what he/she sees depends upon the viewer’s cultural experiences and how this works on his/her thought processes.

I found the ladder metaphor of Bessie the cow (p67) interesting as the discussion around it made me consider my own point on the ladder – whether I tend towards the realist or the thinker.

Then I found it was impossible to place myself on the ladder because I would need more than two feet.  Taking an example from my science background regarding an inherited disease, I could position myself on any rung of the ladder, from the specific patient symptoms of an individual to the whole genome in terms of its coded sequences.

I writing this I am very aware of the comment by Paddy Whannel (p 14) Semiotics tells us things we already know in a language we will never understand. Whilst I have tried to use the appropriate language, I have lapsed into my own methods of expression for clarity in some places.

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One Response to Post 1 Semiotics

  1. Pingback: waeving week 2 posts « thinking practices

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