2008. február 13., szerda

Magritte, Plato, Kosuth and Pierce.





The top image is René Magritte's The Treachery of Images. The text reads "This is not a pipe" and indeed it is not - it is a representation of a pipe.

Plato's theory of forms are developed in a similar way, proposing that there is no such thing as a pipe at all; every single physical thing exists in it's own right. There is what we consider to be the form of a pipe but there is no real pipe, only pipeness. The physical, changing appearance of the pipe (for example) is described as its Substance. This presents 'The problem of the universals - how can one thing in general be many things in particular'? Plato solved this by 'presuming that Form was a distinct singular thing but caused plural representations of itself in particular objects'. Form is the essence of the object, what characteristics accumulated cause it to be that object. Therefore a pipe as an object can be a pipe, a drawing or photograph can be a pipe, and words describing a pipe may also be a pipe.

Joseph Kosuth presents this literally in One and Three Chairs. This shows us that language is not as black and white as word and definition. The viewer is presented with the idea that all three representations are chairs, but perhaps that only one of them is truly a chair. The Oxford dictionary definition of the word chair is offered to us to imply that words and images are two entirely separate things. This is what we have been attempting to show in our work. Word and image are signs that are connected through an interpreter. As Pierce explains:

"(semiosis is) cooperation of three subjects, such as a sign, its object, and its interpretant, this tri-relative influence not being in any way resolvable into actions between pairs."
It is only through recognition that objects and words acquire significance and through interpretation, their meaning. The differences between language can fragment this reality or meaning and cause the familiar to be unrecognisable, for example in written and spoken language the connections between objects and their labels can be lost and distorted. This is what we are exploring initially in this project.

1 megjegyzés:

shaun írta...

Hi Laura and Angus, Plato's theory is also lays at the route of Roland Barthes' work on semantics, where here again the sign only presents us with a broad concept, and idea or quality of what is being signified. At its base level, if we read dog, we can only understand the notion of 'dogness' and our mental picture of dog is likely to be influenced by our own experience of dog - something that we are familiar with. You should read (if you have not already) Barthes' 'Mythologies.' Where he takes a semantic approach of analysis, on just about every aspect of French life. (http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/barthes04.htm)
Kosuth's work might be seen as an extension of this. Your ideas are sound ones and you are taking the time to research the context for you work. The next question/ the next step is how do you take these ideas into your own work?