From the stick to the region

Lagopoulos, Alexandros Ph. 1993. From the stick to the region: Space as a social instrument of semiosis. Semiotica 96(1/2): 87-138.

He argues that space in the form of spatial relationships (i.e., distances) is a meaningful pre-architectural system studied by proxemics. (Lagopoulos 1993: 91)
This does seem proxemic, but the latter is definitely not pre-architectural. Proxemics is also concerned with how architecture influences human spatial behaviour.
Nicholas V was fully aware of the communicative power of architecture. He is reported by Manetti to have explained on his deathbed the reasons for his architectural campaign. The learned are able to understand the authority of the Roman Church because they master the text. But the illiterate have to accept these truths through the intermediary of the former, and thus their beliefs are poorly founded. Things change when these beliefs are confirmed by the constant spectacle of great buildings, that are permanently impressed on people. These buildings may be considered as eternal testimonies, they may be thought of as made by God Himself. Through them people experience a special kind of devotion that consolidates their belief. (Lagopoulos 1993: 97)
While the great buildings in fact stand as worldly testimonies to the usurpation of the poor and the ignorant.
A further connotative code of architecture is the anthropomorphic code, since for Alberti the building is a human body. (Lagopoulos 1993: 99)
Too bad there aren't any specific examples of this. E.g. one part of the building being the head, another the hands or legs, the genitals, stomach, etc.
Burroughs mentions one example of the integration of a heraldic sign into facade decoration and another where the owner placed on his house his portrait bust, manifestly of a commemorative nature; in ancient Rome, too, individual portraits commemorated an individual to his descendants.
The property signs thus functioned as metalinguistic signs pointing to the owner of a building. The result of this metalinguistic function was to create the architectural denotation of the owner of the building, and this denotation led to the insertion of the building in the connotative network discussed above. (Lagopoulos 1993: 103)
I agree that these property signs are about property, but if there's nothing linguistic about them then there also can't be anything metalinguistic about them.
And Janus, the deified legendary first king of Latium, was represented with two faces as uniting in the present of his gaze the past and the future. (Lagopoulos 1993: 108)
AN explanation of the two-faced god.
Burroughs points out that the Augustinian doctrine, according to which the whole world is a text and things are signs of divine truth and providence, was central throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. (Lagopoulos 1993: 117)
I did not know that this was an Augustinian doctrine.
Current semiotic wisdow as a rule stops with the analysis of the urban phenomenon (which, by the way, is not the case with behavioral geography). Regional semiotics is not within the field of vision of the semioticians of space. (Lagopoulos 1993: 120)
What is that? Is that something like ecological psychology?
Thus, Prieto's definition of the index is misleading and tends to incorporate into semiotics material which in reality lies beyond it. (Lagopoulos 1993: 135)
Yes, surely, signs cannot have anything to do with causality and physical reality. That is, surely, misleading. Charles S. Prieto is a deceiver.
Burroughs relates that, according to the chronicler Infessura, when king Ferrante of Naples visited Rome in 1475 he remarked to Pope Sixtus IV that, in order to master the city, he should remove the porticoes and other obstacles to movement through or control of the narrow streets. Infessura gives an exaggerated account of the pope's reaction to this advice: he supposedly gave orders to remove the porticoes and widen the streets. It is of course interesting to find in the quattrocento an approach (encountered also earlier with the Borgo plan) to urban planning as an instrument of social regulation, something which is normally ascribed to the Paris of Haussmann four centuries later. But what I would like to retain here is how this urban problem and the above-mentioned response is related to the question of artillery. Anomie in the streets is not a semiotic problem, and the urban arrangements attempting to confront it are not a semiotic answer, in spite of all the symbolism that may accompany them. (Lagopoulos 1993: 135)
What is a semiotic problem anyway? And why be restrictive about it?


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