Visual culture Lecture 3

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An Introduction to Semiotics

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  • Visual culture Lecture 3

    1. 1. Semiotics &Gestalt
    2. 2. Visual CultureSemiotics &Gestalt
    3. 3. Visual Culture The Study of SignsSemiotics &Gestalt How we see unity in a collection of signs
    4. 4. Semiotics
    5. 5. SemioticsSemiotics - “the study of signs and symbolsand their use or interpretation” Oxford English Dictionary“a science which studies the role of signs aspart of social life” Saussure“semiotics is concerned with everything thatcan be taken as a sign” Eco
    6. 6. SemioticsSemiotics - “the study of signs and symbolsand their use or interpretation” Oxford English Dictionary“a science which studies the role of signs aspart of social life” Saussure“semiotics is concerned with everything thatcan be taken as a sign” Eco“semiotics tells us things we already know ina language we will never understand” Whannel
    7. 7. Semiotics - signs DOG
    8. 8. Semiotics
    9. 9. SemioticsOf importance to linguists, philosophers,psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists,literary, aesthetic and media theorists,psychoanalysts and educationalists
    10. 10. SemioticsOf importance to linguists, philosophers,psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists,literary, aesthetic and media theorists,psychoanalysts and educationalists“The study of signs is the study of theconstruction and maintenance of reality. Todecline such a study is to leave to others thecontrol of the world of meanings which weinhabit.”Chandler
    11. 11. Semiotics
    12. 12. SemioticsThrough providing a framework for the study of signsand the analysis of communication and design,semiotics provides a means to critique and evaluatecommunication and design methods and artifactsthrough the perspective of their intended functions.We can-1.understand and effectively use optimal means of communication;2.generate and evaluate various design options3.choose and evaluate different media;
    13. 13. Semiotics
    14. 14. SemioticsEarly development of Semiotics is largelyattributed to -Swiss Linguist Ferdinand de Saussure andAmerican Philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce
    15. 15. SemioticsEarly development of Semiotics is largelyattributed to -Swiss Linguist Ferdinand de Saussure andAmerican Philosopher Charles Sanders PeirceOther Key theorists / writers includeCharles William MorrisRoland BarthesUmberto EcoChristian Metz
    16. 16. Sign
    17. 17. Signwe make meanings through our creation andinterpretation of signs“we think only in signs” Peirce
    18. 18. Signwe make meanings through our creation andinterpretation of signs“we think only in signs” Peirce SIGN Signifier - Form Signified - conceptSaussure ‘dyadic’ model
    19. 19. Sign Interpretant - Sense SIGN Representum - Form Object - ReferentPeirce’s semiotic triangle
    20. 20. Sign Interpretant - Value to Consumer SIGN Representum - Poster Object - CommodityPeirce’s semiotic triangle
    21. 21. Types of Sign
    22. 22. Types of SignTypes of sign defined by relationship betweensignifier and signified (to use Saussureanterms) or sign vehicles and their referents.Peirce proposed 59,049 types of sign!We’ll focus only on 3SymbolicIconicIndexical
    23. 23. Types of Sign Symbol/symbolic: a mode in which the signifierdoes not resemble the signified but which isfundamentally arbitrary or purely conventional - sothat the relationship must be learnt: e.g. language ingeneral (plus specific languages, alphabeticalletters, punctuation marks, words, phrases andsentences), numbers, morse code, traffic lights,national flags; Icon/iconic: a mode in which the signifier isperceived as resembling or imitating the signified(recognizably looking, sounding, feeling, tasting orsmelling like it) - being similar in possessing someof its qualities: e.g. a portrait, a cartoon, a scale-modelIndex/indexical: a mode in which the signifier is notarbitrary but is directly connected in some way(physically or causally) to the signified - this linkcan be observed or inferred: A photograph, asignature.
    24. 24. Semiotics - signs DOG
    25. 25. Second Signified
    26. 26. Second SignifiedThe sign can itself become a signifier for asecond signified
    27. 27. Second SignifiedThe sign can itself become a signifier for asecond signified Signifier Signified SIGN - 2nd Signifier 2nd Signified SIGN
    28. 28. Paradigmatic relations
    29. 29. Paradigmatic relationsWhere signs get meaning from theirassociation with other signs
    30. 30. Paradigmatic relationsWhere signs get meaning from theirassociation with other signsIn the series of signs below what does thismercedes logo signify
    31. 31. Paradigmatic relationsWhere signs get meaning from theirassociation with other signsIn the series of signs below what does thismercedes logo signifyIn the series of signs below now what does thismercedes logo signify £
    32. 32. Syntagmatic relations
    33. 33. Syntagmatic relations Where signs get meaning from their sequentialorder, e.g., grammar or the sequence of eventsthat make up a story.
    34. 34. Syntagmatic relations Where signs get meaning from their sequentialorder, e.g., grammar or the sequence of eventsthat make up a story.Sequential order can change meaning dramatically-Dog Bites ManMan Bites DogThe order of shots and combination of shots is largelywhat determines our interpretation of film, view thefollowing clip.http://www.youtube.com/watch?
    35. 35. Myths + Codes
    36. 36. Myths + CodesMyth- a combination of paradigms andsyntagms that make up an oft-told story withelaborate cultural associations, e.g., thecowboy myth, the romance myth, myth offeminine beauty
    37. 37. Myths + CodesMyth- a combination of paradigms andsyntagms that make up an oft-told story withelaborate cultural associations, e.g., thecowboy myth, the romance myth, myth offeminine beautyCode- a combination of semiotic systems, asupersystem, that function as general maps ofmeaning, belief systems about oneself andothers, which imply views and attitudes abouthow the world is and/or ought to be. Codes arewhere semiotics and social structure andvalues connect.
    38. 38. Examples
    39. 39. ExamplesThis advert usesparadigmatic andsyntagmaticrelations toassociate thisbrand of bourbonwith a certainlifestyle, how?
    40. 40. Gestalt Gestalt theory is concerned with the way in which we perceive and process visual data in order to create form out of a combination of separate components
    41. 41. Gestalt - Prägnanz (Figure-Ground)The Figure-Ground principle isconcerned with how we define,group or rate images through theirpositioning, relationship and theextend that they are in theforeground or background.This can relate to using suitablebackgrounds in a webpage, a narrowdepth of field in a photo or creatingmeaning through the ambiguitybetween the two as seen in thedesign to the right.
    42. 42. Gestalt - Proximity Proximity is the principle that we naturally group items that are closer together. This principle can be used to imply importance, relationships or to infer meaning from one sign to another.
    43. 43. Gestalt - Continuity We tend to seek out continuity within images and other forms of media. This can affect how we read an image in terms of how are eyes are drawn across it.
    44. 44. Gestalt - ClosureClosure relates to ourability to ‘close’ images orother messages in theabsence of completion.
    45. 45. Gestalt - Similarity Similarity is the tendency to see similar forms as a group. In the case of this logo similarity is used to create unity between the sun and the eagles head. What other gestalt principles are being utilised here?
    46. 46. Gestalt - Common Fate >>>>>>>>> We group the lines above and below not only because of the effects of similarity and proximity but also because they move together <<<<<<<<< Where else is movement used to suggest significance or grouping?
    47. 47. Gestalt - Symmetery Symmetrical shapes will tend to be seen as a whole even if they are separate, lots of logos rely on the use of symmetry to create form.
    48. 48. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J59n8FsoRLE
    49. 49. Further reading
    50. 50. Further readingBooksMedia Semiotics - BignellSemiotics the basics - ChandlerThis means this, this means that - Hall
    51. 51. Further readingBooksMedia Semiotics - BignellSemiotics the basics - ChandlerThis means this, this means that - HallWebsiteshttp://www.nadin.ws/archives/261http://www.uvm.edu/~tstreete/semiotics_and_ads/contents.htmlhttp://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/semiotic.htmlhttp://adsoftheworld.com/http://sixrevisions.com/web_design/gestalt-principles-applied-in-design/http://www.users.totalise.co.uk/~kbroom/Lectures/gestalt.htm

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