Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Roland Barthes' From Work to Text

How does a 'Text' relate to a 'Work'...

1) Methodology: "the Text is experienced only in an act of production" Text is active, the Work is fixed and passive.
2) Classification: The Work can be classified, the text defies this..."the Text is always paradoxical"
3) Signification: the Work..."is moderately symbolic" "the Text is radically symbolic" The Work is a sign, but the text is a fluid tapestry of signs.
4) Plurality: the Text is "an irreducible plural" There is no single definitive Text to a specific Work.
5) Filiation: The Work is linked to its author. The Text is a wild child that may at best only have visitation obligations.
6) Consumption: The Work is to be consumed, but the Text tempts us to play with our food. Pure consumption is boring. "to be bored means one cannot produce the text, open it out, set it going."
7) Pleasure: "the Text is that social space which leaves no language safe" ...even the relationship of a reader to a book creates social space. The active reader is constantly interacting with, and essentially rewriting, the work.

These ideas are commonly only applied to written works, but a larger scope is implied here by Barthes in his reference to "the modern ('unreadable') text, the avant-garde film or painting." Would Rothko have been seemingly impenetrable to Barthes in the 1960s, when this was written? Is it that this idea of a Work/Text relationship is best seen in historic, traditional media? Do instagram posts possess these attributes?


Mark Rothko Untitled (1969)

  • MOMA collection

Synthetic polymer paint and ink on paper
40 1/2 x 26 1/2" (102.2 x 67.4 cm)
Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc.
Object number
© 2019 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Drawings and Prints

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Death of the Author

wikipedia is the ultimate author.

Related Ideas:

collapse of meaning; Multiplicities of meaning via varied human ecologies.

impossibility of originality; The scope of influence, conscious and unconscious.

multiple discovery; The evolution of scientific thinking as a social development.

the death of God; Nietzsche’s idea of the obsolescence of the 'God' concept.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Photography's False Impression of Objectivity

Panzani Advertisement from Barthes’s Rhetoric of the Image.
Stuff to think about via Barthes’s Rhetoric of the Image:

  Linguistic message within image;

    Denoted; What text is there?
    Connoted; What symbolism is there?

  Accompanied linguistic messages;

    Anchor; What am I looking at?
    Relay; What should I think when I see this?

  Literal messages;

    Representations of specific things.

  Symbolic messages;

    Cultural implications of specific objects represented.
    Cultural implications of juxtapositions. (symbolic color, cuisine, actions)
    Cultural implications of image classifications. (still life)

 Denoted message;

    Does the photograph exist as a trace of, or an equivalent of truth?
    Is the photograph always a lie?
    Can both of these ideas co-exist?

Connoted message;

    (We want to eat this)

Disclaimer; This is a mash-up of my notes from this essay and may not reflect the author's intent.


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Marcel Duchamp interview on Art and Dada (1956)

This 1956 interview features the artist talking with James Johnson Sweeney, former director of the Guggenheim Museum.