Saturday, 12 December 2009

Roland Barthes meets Cheryl Richmond

Roland Barthes, in his essay 'The Third meaning' approaches a third order of meaning, a communication beyond words, something that is meaning giving, but it cannot be quantified, an obtuse meaning which is significant, generates a visceral response, and elevates the work to the truly meaninful and sublime.

The first order of meaning is the obvious. The second order is symbolic, and the third meaning is not wholly divorced from them. It is difficult to name because, as Barthes states " The third meaning, or obtuse meaning is a signifier without a signified".

So, in relation to the Kaleidoscope banknotes:

First meaning; obvious, RBS logo, though this is not as obvious as it could be, due to the interesting and complex use within the visual treatment, it is not the first thing we see, we are in my opinion taken directly to the third meaning.

Second meaning; symbolic, identifiable symbolism, kaleidoscope, snowflake . . . intruiging, but
there is still a communication beyond that.

Third meaning; obtuse/significant. No tangible signifiers are there . . . . but, they are there . . . optimism, multiculturalism, inclusion, diversity, a far reaching influence, and more . . . all the things a modern nation and a bank trying to re-build itself need to say . . . with no words involved whatsoever.

Whether you meant it or not, it is a striking example of this communication/ semiotics theory.

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