26 Nov 2010

HOW DOES MEANING GET INTO THE IMAGE? ... meaning?


photograph .................................................................. drawing



beaten up version of the drawing...............................hot bottle version.


Just found this passage from Roland Barthes' "Rhetoric of the Image":
"According to an ancient Etymology, the word image should be linked to the root imitari. Thus we find ourselves immediately at the heart of the most important problem facing the semiology of image: can analogical representation (the 'copy') produce true systems of signs and not merely simple agglutinations of symbols? Is it possible to conceive of an analogical 'code' (as opposed to a digital one)?" ...
bla, bla, bla linguistics...
"Nor are linguists the only ones to be suspicious as to the linguistic nature of the image; general opinion too has a vague conception of the image as an area of resistance to meaning – this in the name of a certain mythical idea of Life: the image is re-presentation, which is to say ultimately resurrection (Wiederauferstehung), and, as we know, the intelligible is reputed antipathetic to lived experience." ...
"Now even – and above all if – the image is in certain manner the limit of meaning, it permits the consideration of a veritable ontology of the process of signification." [and now it comes:] HOW DOES MEANING GET INTO THE IMAGE? where does it end? and if it ends, what is there beyond?"

yeah, mythical idea of life / the meaning of life: what do a screaming, dribbling woman and a waterbottle have to say to this? Monty Python, anybody?

maybe its a language thing? something lost in translation? my last hope.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder, here, about the word 'get'. Does meaning 'get' into an image? As in a process of insertion or overlaying, or addition? Of forced entry? "Bla, bla, bla, linguistics..." :-)
    if only the process (is it only one?) were that simple.

    Barthes is old; so are his words. I find it hard to get much from them, and this passage is a good example. Representation as analogy, 'true' systems of sign, looking at limits to find ends with beyonds, and not as permeable membranes, .., all that is rather ancient, just like his penchant for etymology. Ah, but 're-presentation'...

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