FLSE.00.148 loeng 13.10.08

FLSE.00.148 Semiotics and Theories of Art loeng 2013.10.08

Today's lecture is supposed to be about visual semiotics and understanding the methodological difference between art theory and semiotics of art.
Gleb is replacing Indrek from now on. The only questionable part here is that Gleb is about visual semiotics, but Grigor is about semiotics of art, which this course is supposed to be about. That's my preconception.
Cognitive semiotics (Sonneson) and spatial semiotics quarrel between each other. The relationship between visual and art semiotics is paradoxical. Up to 70% of young researchers turn back to Panofsky's (who is more popular) methodology. His three levels are related to what we are trying to do today.
Few years ago Eco stresset this problem:
So semiotics has ploluted its own instrument for doing something that was already done! Obviously, having a semiotic sensitivity in proctice, many of those friends who analyzed, say, paintings of Picasso or Rafaello, said interesting things, but there was no semiotic discovery. [...] More and more people abandon the real battlefield that was the central - semiotics of cognition - to play interesting games on the easier field and they are more and more speaking of social semiotics. So they analyze now advertising, political discourse. (Eco 2012)
I don't see what this has to do with... Anything.
[Gleb translates Uspensky from Russian on the spot:] The system of image building which it gives in painting can be studied on different levels (there are three levels). Taking account of the specific of different objects. There is also the specific of plasticity (we will call it). The most general level is that of conventional tools for temporal and spatial relations in painting or in artifact, in this case. On a more specific level some iconic signs can be observed and the third is the symbolic level. We will return to Panofsky so far is that his work is very specifically on (temporal) fine art and a huge corpus of visual material remains outside of research.
Makes no sense and when I inquire about it, I'm referred to the russian text on the slide.
Materiality - very unclear and quite ambiguous term. Used a few times only. What does ite mean? Any idea? It is not related to the spatial/temporal existence of the object of art in a three-dimensional space. Under materiality we undestand specific aspects - authorship, style, technique, size and texture of the artifact, plus the difference in year of creation. Semiotics deals only with what is depicted.
Why are we given ambiguous terms? It seems like just more handfuls of putty.
So the movement of understanding is constantly moving from whole to part and from part to whole. And the problem always lies in the fact thatby building concentric circles that expand the unity of meaning, which we understand. The interaction of the whole individuals and of the whole - each time the criterion of correct understanding. (Gadamer, 1991: 72)
I have an incling that this is going to be "general and generalizing". Hermeneutics is neat and all, but is it appropriate for the semiotics of art? It seems like another handful of putty.
In this case, the specific content (or subject area) of a certain work may be narrowly limited, but at the same time it allows a wide range of interpretations because of the fundamental ambiguity (multi-leveled or metaphorical) nature of art. (Ivanov, 1981: 19-21)
This, at least is somewhat useful. At least it is suggestive that art is - like animal behaviour and dreams according to Gregory Bateson - a web of metaphors.
Beauty is related to aesthetics.
...and then ho stops and gestures towards me, because I "opened my eyes" (I stopped typing this document) and I validated him: "Yes, aesthetics is related to value, it makes sense". His model after Peirce:
Cognizance iconology - combined from "cognitive" and something else, which you are probably not familiar [with]
A lot of this lecture has been about "something else, which you are probably not familiar".

Ona whole I think this lecture went awry. I got confrontentional by again bringing up Morris's conditions for something being language. But whereas Grigor seemed to have his knowledge shaken by this and actually got something out of my criticism, Gleb remained firm that his materiality and sistemity are perfectly valid terms. I hope we can arrance it so that I won't have to attend his lectures and can pass this course by doing independent work and writing an essay on something that is interesting to me (visual concourse, for example). Too bad, because this was the only lecture I was actually looking towards every week.
Also, at the beginning of the lecture, Gleb suggested asking questions whenever they arise instead of waiting until the end. But when I did pose difficult questions he ultimately conceded that this is just disruptive. A case of "Don't talk the talk if you can't walk the walk."


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