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Internet and the stimulus-signs: a cat playing with a mouse.

Let's consider a scene, whatever it is, made of ordinary objects and let's try to muddle up words and graphic elements. What's changed? According to semiotics nothing has changed because an image or generally a group of signs are themselves a sign. Nevertheless something very important has changed.

As a matter of fact there is something special in word-signs as compared with graphic sign-objects. When a word is put in a figurative context the scene changes.Signs and words are perceived but they do not combine at the perceptive level.

This happens because introducing words in a context of images generates discontinuity: word-signs cover what we see; that is to say they cover the image-signs. We can find the reason for this discontinuity in the differing nature of signs and objects: while objects generally speaking have a concrete origin (with all the complexity of that discussion), words are conventional, they are an invention of ours, the result of a long transformation and abstraction process that allow us to substitute objects with words.

The perceptive effect of discontinuity has some results on our attention level. Word-signs manipulate the scene. They attract our attention so much that we can forget the object, especially when we try to describe it.

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February 2004 - © Blumedia Art
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