A renewed viewer-reader condition : mediating between semiotics and counter-semiotics

Taylor, Michael (John Michael) (2006-12)

Thesis (MA) -- University of Stellenbosch, 2006.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: As the title of this thesis anticipates, two modes for interpretation are discussed: visual semiotics and pictorial counter-semiotics. Rooted in and conceived from an established linguistic methodology for learning the significance of signs, visual semiotics constitutes an interpretative mindset which affords only a confined set of theories for the viewer. These conceptions, directing the codes by which, for example, visual narratives are created and understood, hold certain limits for the viewer's full appreciation and formation of the selfhood of pictures. Visual semiotics presents images to viewers as a form of text, implying that they be read and studied in a particular fashion - an attitude advancing the idea that images are subsidiary to text. This limited theory is investigated here. Pictorial counter-semiotics, a misrecognized counterpart of semiotic study, offers a paradigmatic shift in the recognition and understanding of visual signification. By exposing a number of visual paradoxes, it enables the viewer to evaluate and reconsider his I her position on the construction and cultural implementation of pictures. Three particular instances of image-making, namely anti-splendor, 'exfoliation', and 'multistability', are brought in line with my own art and image-making processes to elucidate a counter means for picture interpretation. Counter-semiotics is not an anti-semiotic stance. It is instead a conjoining feature of a viewer's interpretative mindset and effects the constant transference between pictorial convention and pictorial discovery.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Soos daar in die titel voorgestel word, ondersoek hierdie tesis twee wyses om beelde te vertolk: visuele semiotiek en pikturale kontrasemiotiek. Die eerste, visuele semiotiek, stel 'n groep teoriee voor wat hoofsaaklik op 'n gevestigde taalkundige metodiek vir die vertolking van tekens gebaseer is. Sulke veronderstelde konsepte bepaal die kodes waarvolgens visuele narratiewe geskep en verstaan word, maar sander dat die kyker dit besef weerhou dit beduidende prente-aspekte wat aanvullend tot die kyker se voile begrip van prente se selfwees mag wees. Visuele semiotiek impliseer dat kykers prente as 'n vorm van teks moet sien en ook ontleed, wat gevolglik beteken dat prente sekonder staan tot tekste. Die eng teoriee van visuele semiotiek word in hierdie tesis ondersoek. Pikturale kontrasemiotiek is die voorgestelde naam vir 'n onerkende eweknie van semiotiese studies. So 'n tipe visuele vertolking bied 'n model wat 'n paradigmaverskuiwing in die herkenning en begrip van visuele kodes wil veroorsaak. Vanwee die ontbloting van bepaalde visuele paradokse, word die kyker in staat gestel om sy I haar posisie ten opsigte van die samestelling en kulturele implimentering van prente te herevalueer en te heroorweeg. Orie vorme van beeldskepping, naamlik 'anti-splendor', 'exfoliation' en 'multistability', word met my eie werk en prosesse in verband gebring om 'n kontrawyse vir die vertolking van prente duidelik te maak. Kontrasemiotiek is nie 'n anti-semiotiese perspektief nie. lnteendeel, dit is 'n aansluitende hooftrek van 'n kyker se vertolkingsingesteldheid en bring 'n onophoudelike kruisspel tussen pikturale konvensie en pikturale ontdekking teweeg.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50576
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