Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Semiotics Not Symbiotic

I keep getting the word semiotic confused with symbiotic. Here are the two different meanings:
Semiotic: The study of signs and the way in which they work to create meaning.
Symbiotic: The living together of two dissimilar organisms in mutually beneficial relationship.
  So not really related. I will still mix them up. 

Signification = the process of signs-being-made-noticed-and-understood

  Although I was feeling a bit like death after about 3 hours sleep this lecture was actually very interesting.  We learnt the difference between how iconic or arbitrary something is. It turns out that iconic is closest to the real thing and arbitrary is far away and in between in a sliding scale.  A photograph is generally the most iconic way to represent something and the written word or sound or something the least. 

    Onomatopoeic words however are iconic because they sound like the thing they describe. 

Here is a sliding scale of the signification of bananas:

Iconic <-------------------------------------------------------> Arbitrary                   
Whilst looking for pictures of bananas I found this banana bowl designed by Harry Allen, I want one!
  Another part of the lecture was on the denotation, connotation, and myth of signs.  The denotation is the literal meaning-ie what you first see, the connotation is subtler or suggested meaning, and myth the underlying ideology and political meaning.

Take one banana related object and analyse:

  • Denotation: Yellow object, made of plastic and metal, shaped like a banana, sticker of a fruit company on the side, opens in two.
  • Connotation:  Not everything is exactly as you expect, Del Monte have branched out with their products/souvenirs.
  • Myth:Technology should be quirky as well as functional, people expect more from a product than just a function, nature fused with science.

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