THEORY final

Zinnia Upson




Semiotics and Allegory

For my 12th and Final week of studio exercises, I wanted dive deeper into a subject that was best fit for my pocket dictionary that represents communication and the struggle within language. I choose Semiotics and Allegory, where we read articles from Krauss, Owens, Barthes, Mulvey, and Baudrillard. Semiotics and allegory is all about representing symbolic notions. I chose to look at Owens article, specifically how Owens describes this subject: “…Since allegory is an attitude as well as a technique, a perception as well as a procedure.” (316, Owens) My piece focuses expressly on the de-evolution of language, and the dilapidated state that it presently exists in our modern and technologically driven society. The “allegorical attitude” in my work exists within the conversation between two beings who are particularly dismayed by the direction that language seems to be heading nowadays; both bearing a shared disapproving perception on the subject. I attempted to portray the contrast of how the English language has changed today with the state it was in prior to the technological boom by inserting  “Imessage” text bubbles (a very recent and new form of communication) overtop of a regular old fashioned letter, creating a unique comparison. The letter containing “Imessage bubbles” are falling out of the envelope are representative of the decomposition of language. The conversation in itself is not particularly smooth and flowing, but is in contrast rather fragmented and slightly abstract. This was a very conscious choice I made after reading Craig Owen’s “Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Postmodernism:” “Allegory is consistently attracted to the fragmentary, the imperfect the incomplete-  an affinity which finds its most comprehensive expression in the ruin…” (318 Owens) The fragmentation of the language in my piece is a very essential component, allowing the allegorical symbolism to shine through to my audience in a subtle, but clear fashion. I see my project falling into conversation with Fred Wilson and Lawrence Weiner, relating to the allegorical and symbolic statements they have made in several of their works. Fred takes relics from the past and uses them to bring awareness to civil issues today such as his work “Cabinetmaking 1820-1960”. He uses old chairs and a whipping post with the date above the work illuminated to show the duration of the time this torture technique was used as I wanted to show an issue of technology and the destruction of language over time. I also feel that my work can relate to that of Lawrence Wieners because of the Language and texted used to blatantly give the viewer a sense of the art and putting the meaning upfront with my use of definitions. At First I wanted to make the composition appear on a phone to play up the technology side but used the Imessage bubbles to portray the Iphone while hinting at the old use of writing letters! I incorporated the dictionary by instead of typing the words I used to describe the fall of communication, I used the dictionary words and definitions.



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