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Lecture Ten: Communication Theory 2

Misleading title? Focus on a specific area called semiotics and semiotics related to language as well as visuals

Meaning isn’t always guaranteed when things are being communicated

Semiotics being transposed onto the theory of reading images

What is semiotics? De Saussure, the study of sign systems, these people who were concerned with language, by reducing language to sign system it ushers in the idea of image based signs, these structures can be used to understand visual communication

Developed a system of the signifier, the signified: the mental concept, what you think of when you see a sign, the referent: the concept its self. This systems allows for an element of thinking, known as interruption

The process of speaking separated from the process of language, speaking: we decided what we want to say and represent, but language itself does not belong to the individual it is transcendent

Signs work within systems and structures, what dictates meaning? What tells us what to think, these are language systems, or advertising as a system, photography as a system, the signs within these systems work because of an agreed agreement of what these mean

The system is fluid and only works if there is an agreement about what signs and signifier mean and make us think, however there is no literal translation between what a signifier can mean

Saussure also says that signs work indifference or in opposition, we don’t know what it is by what it is but we know what it is by what it isn’t, characterizing it against others in the system

Connotation and denotation: orders of signification, not everything works on a literal level. Barthes warns that what might seem to denote

Myth: Myths that have become naturalized that appear to go without though, myths are a third order, first order denotation: a literal meaning, connotation something that is suggest by a sign and myth something that has been naturalized overtime

Milk associated with strength, freedom and liberty in the US but bares no real association to this but has been assumed overtime and then becomes an agreed conclusion

Syntagm and paradigm, a syntagn a series or collection of signifiers creating a ‘text’ , this is both images and text, a relation of signifiers

Paradigm when signifiers relate through function or relative meaning and how these can be adjusted to alter meaning of a ‘text’

Syntagms are the formal relations of signifiers in a text, whereas a paradigm are a related set of signifiers

Metaphor when one sign is replaced with another sign that has similar characteristics

Metonymy is where a signifier stands in for another to which it is conceptually or physically part of

Rhetoric: the act of effective persuasion using language, the act of persuasion using words, not just a message, it’s trying to persuade you of something, it’s work is so subtle that you are not aware you are being persuaded

Photographers using rhetoric to persuade the auidence and make them think certain things

Meta is a prefix to alter the purpose of a practice or system inwards - story about story, a language about a language

The greatest movie ever sold - him and his search to make a movie, a movie about making a movie, could be called a metamovie

Art work that comments on art, art about art, meta art

Structuralism: how can these words be used for image analysis, not just concerned with what they represent but how they represent what they are suggesting

The structuralist took the idea of sign systems and applied it to a range of things, exploring what it means but how it comes to mean

Barthes: a structuralist up to a point but then becomes negative about structuralism and becomes a post structuralist

Post-structuralism focuses on the reader and how they interrupt meaning in contrast to Structuralism which focuses on the structures of meaning within a given system of signifiers, within Structuralism everything is reduced it’s primary meaning or element within the system of signifiers as is authoritarian in nature

However post-structuralism aims to deconstruct these assumptions and therefore places emphasis on plurality of interpretation instead

Jacques Derrida was known for establishing the term ‘Differance’ and was developed in part due to the development of Saussure and disagreement

Differer meaning to differ or to defer where as Differance is the process leading to differing or deferring - Differance is primarily both of these happening simultaneously

Deconstruction is the direct opposite to the ideals structuralism aimed to explain and achieve, where structuralism aimed to create and identify structures of signification, deconstruction aimed to dismantle these established structures therefore identifying gaps and instabilities

The deconstruction allowed Jacques Derrida to challenge such theories as ‘Binary Oppositions’ which are part of our culture and language

Intertextuality is the theory that all texts are collages and constructs of texts that have come before it, therefore meaning when writers write they are also written

Jean Baudrillard’s work focused on the idea of a hyper reality in representation, meaning a copy without the original.

We as humans have lost the ability the recognize the difference between nature and artificiality, this is part of what is referred to as Simulacra

There are three stages to simulacra, stage one, in pre modern times is where the images is a clear counterfeit of the original, stage two known as modern, is where clear distinctions can be made between the original and the copy as a results of mass production and mass distribution. The third stage of Simulacra is known as ‘Pure Simulacra’ when the copy precedes and determines the real.

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