Semiotics: Crit

During my crit I had a large body of work to present however I did not have a final outcome. In my work I had explored a range of areas relating to body language, for example proxemics, flirting and advertising analysis, however I was struggling to refine my work in a creative and effective outcome. Whilst discussing my work with the tutors and other students many possible ideas for how I could progress my work were highlights, such as:

  • Go back to proxemics or an area of body language I am interested in
  • Analyse a single particular gesture of interest
  • Look at combining body language with another theme
  • Look at a way of giving people dating advice based on body language
  • Cut gestures or body language out of magazines
  • Analyse eye shapes or something small where you have to look at details
  • Research gestures in jobs such as dancers
  • Look at the ways in which different jobs change the body
  • Investigate the speed of gestures
  • Create GIFs mixing frames from different gestures
  • Look at the books ‘Decoding Advertising’ and ‘Notes on Gesture’
  • Whitechapel gallery books on body language
  • Look at how artists show expressions in fine art
  • Censor body parts in body language
  • Analyse when gestures become meaningless
  • Distances between people and what they mean
  • Look at gestures in film and focus on how one gesture is portrayed, for example how people hold cigarettes

From the wide range of ideas given there are some that particularly interested me, these were looking at how the gestures in jobs change the body as well analysing a specific gesture in film, for example how people hold cigarettes. Both of these ideas however would require extensive research to produce a well researched outcome, therefore due to not having much time before assessments I decided to go with the idea of mixing gestures together through GIFs. This idea was inspired by my contact sheets where I used self portrait photography to capture myself reenacting flirtatious body language. It was suggested that I take a series of photographs for one gesture, and replace the key from from that series with a frame from another gesture. This idea I thought was quite amusing and it creates confusion and distorts the intentions of both gestures, even though they both aim to appear flirtatious.

Semiotics: Research

Below is a body of research I have done into the various ways in which designers have approached the language of body language. With each image I have analysed the work that has been created and noted what direction I believe my project could take if inspiration by that image.

The Nonverbal Dictionary of Brazilian Bars by Nei Valente. Catalogue of Boteco language, which is the signal and gestures used when drinking in bars in Brazil. Inspiration to catalogue english gestures from bars, or even personal gestures.

A Series of Visual Signifiers by Femke Campbell. A body of work collecting visual signifiers of the word violence. For my own work I could collect a series of visual signifiers for an aspect of body language.

Hands On Zine by Josh Harrison. Uses collected imagery to create a dictionary of hand gestures, mainly contemporary. Could produce my own dictionary with contemporary gestures as new gestures are constantly being created in the media and on the internet.

Decoding the V Sign by Giulia Valeria Jolk. Collection of found imagery looking at the significance of the V sign. I could focus on one particular gesture of interest, collect imagery and information about it and then analyse it.

Female Body by Calia Lima. Female body language from pornography is contrasted with female body language in classical art, making an interesting comment on what female body language is appropriate in what contexts. In my work I could explore how the same gesture or body language changes depending on context.

The Glamorous Fist by Myriam Waldbillig. Demonstrates the manipulative power of words and image, she questions how meaning is formed and manipulate our thinking. There is the possibility for me explore imagery and warping it’s meaning through the use of accompanying text. It may be interesting to research how this is done in advertising and propaganda. 

The Art of Nonverbal Communication by Umer Ahmed. Publication exploring forms of nonverbal communication. The above image is looking at proxemics, which the study of the amount of space people feel is necessary to set between themselves and others. This study is interesting to me as I had never considered the psychology behind why we position ourselves at certain distances from others, furthermore this varies between cultures which is also of interest to me.

The Art of Nonverbal Communication by Umer Ahmed. Above is an analysis of body language in existing imagery. My project could focus on analysis existing imagery and presenting it to the audience.

 

Semiotics: The Language, Symbols & Signs of…

Semiotics

Semiotics is the theory of signs, taken from the Greek word semeiotikos which means ‘an interpreter of signs’. Signing is vital to human existence as it underlies all forms of human communication.

Icon

The signifier (denotation) is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified (connotation). A pictorial representation, a photograph, an architect’s model of a building, or a star chart are all icons because they imitate or copy an aspect of their subject.

Index

An index has a factual or casual connection that points towards its object. Wet streets are a sign that it has rained recently. Smoke signifies fire. A nest image is an icon of a nest but an index of a bird.

Symbol

A symbol has an arbitrary relationship between the signifier and the signified. The interpreter understands the symbol through previous knowledge and experience – it must be learned and agreed upon. Spoken or written words are symbols. There is no reason that the word ‘cat’ should represent a cat instead of a tree.

Metasymbol

A symbol whose meaning transcends the tangible realm of simple one-to-one relationships. History, culture, and tradition all play a role in creating metasymbols, such as a dove with an olive branch as a symbol for peace. For certain audiences, religious and magical signs and symbols take on these properties.

The Language, Symbols & Signs of…

Brief: To research, visually explore and investigate a form of communication. In this project you should explore visual language and how personal/collective visual signifiers are communicated in relation to meaning and audience (e.g. semiotics). You should also develop an awareness of content and visual hierarchies, and develop research and self-evaluation skills.

The language of…

  • Language is a system of communication both written and visual which when used in various ways conveys a message. Some languages are read consciously or subconsciously. There are many examples of visual systems/matter that utilise a language of their own such as smoke signals and flowers. The messages communicated can be life-saving when denoting ‘friend or foe’ or as everyday as a team affiliation.

The Signs of…

  • A sign is an object, quality or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else. A gesture of action used to convey information or an instruction. We scrutinise each other’s faces all the time consciously and subconsciously looking for signs of agreement, affection, mistrust, interest, etc.
  • When a comet shoots across the sky ancient people saw this as a sign of doom, whilst others interpreted it as a prophecy of a forthcoming Saviour King. More mundane signs guide us every day and help us navigate ur journeys from A to B. There are universal signs (signage) and personally significant signs whether linked to relationships, profession or belief systems.

The Symbol of…

  • A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating links between otherwise very different concepts and experiences. Symbols are people, objects, events, designs, places and are at the pinnacle of communication, what is associated with them carries the impact of the idea. An example of fast evolving symbols are emojis, being refined and expanded on all the time.

On the brief a list of 30 forms of communication were provided, 10 examples each for language, signs and symbols. From this list I have chosen to investigate the option ‘body language: posture; attraction; flirting; tattoos and/or body modifications’ found within the section ‘the language of…’