Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week 12 - Photojournalism

To my current understanding, Photojournalism is a photo that has a power and ability to tell a story to make some relevant authority to do their work and do something about it. For example, the picture below was taken here in Brunei. When the Royal Brunei Armed Forces just came back from Peace Mission in Mindano for a long leaving his family here in Brunei.Viewers tend to fell touched after seeing this picture. But without the text explaination, viewer don't event know what had happen. Off course a lot of different perception made.

Photo by Sim Y.H @ Media Permata

Now let us see the picture below: - (Picture by Photojournalist David Bracho). This picture told the viewer a lot of things. Its either this army's daughter or this army try to save the little girl.
There's two obvious different picture here. The first picture is the happiness moment of a child after his dad coming back from the Peace Mission. Where as the 2nd picture makes the viewer feels so touched seeing this little girl crying.

Unlike this picture below. Not only the reporter have to take two version of it but also it has to come with a text report to explain the reader to whats going on.


As stated by Marshall McLuhan, (1964) on his book titled Understanding Media the extension of man, said, "Nobody can commit photography alone. It is possible to have at least the illusion of reading and writing in isolation, but photography does not foster such attitudes. If there is any sense on deploring the growth of corporate and collective art forms such as the film and the press, it is surely in relation to the previous individualist technologies that these new forms corrode. Yet if there had been no prints or woodcuts and engravings, there would never have come the photograph". (p.189)

Where as stated by Berbard Rubin, (1978) on his book titled Questioning Media Ethics, said that, "Standarized codes of ethics for the mass media are hopeful siigns, but their usefulness is limited. Other ethical resources are needed. I conclude that only a high ethical level of individual professional work by each of us in the media is the answer to the problem. The ethical standards of the media will be determined by the number of people who care. To the extent that we constitute a responsible public, public opnion is a powerful influence". (p.14)

I've been working as a reporter since 2006. First I engaged with government sector in doing news reporting with a free newspaper named Pelita Brunei. As I can't see the bright future in improving myself in journalism in that kind of newspaper, I took the risk and jump into Private Sector and worked with Malay Version newspaper call Media Permata. I can say that this paper is the Malay version of Borneo Bulletin. Since I'm with Media Permata, my press pass designation titled as Photojournalist. Which to my perception working as a Photographer and Journalist.

Until the Week-12 of our Visual Communication lecture, then only I knew that Photojournalist does not write a news report for their photo. Photojournalism is a profession that only took real photo without editing it at anyway. The question that still not answered by my bos is why did I take photo and do the news report? and why do my colleagues here take photo and edit it to make it even artistic? Am I consider myself as a Photographer cum Journalist? If so, they shouldn't put my post as Photojournalism. Does this company (the media authority here in Brunei) know the ethics of Photojournalism? Somebody got to do something about it.


McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding Media the extension of man. Routledge: London.

Rubin, B. (1978). Questioning Media Ethics. Praeger Publishers - Praeger Special Studies : New York, London, Sydney, Toronto.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Week 11 - Information Graphics

First - Ordinary Bar Graph

Second - 3D Colourful Graph
As stated by Klaus Krippendorff, (1986) in his book titled Information Theory - Structural Models for Qualitative Data, said that "All information quantities express differences between two distribution of frequencies or probabilites. When the sample size of these distribution is small, sampling biases may add to these differences". (p.53)

The above two example of a graph using the information form the Tutorial Exercise. I will not explain much on it. Both information graph is not really useful. What I had in mind is that in using of pictogram which will make it more interesting and easier to understand with out explain it more. I try to do the pictogram but still I cant manage to do it and I end it up like this. The 1st one is just an ordinary bar graph whereas the second graph is a bit 3D method of graph.

This is one of the example of information graph. From my point of view information graphic is very powerful in saving times. As an example the weather forecast, the news reader mostly use the graphic information and elaborate more based on the graphic. What come in mind is the journalist. I ever come with this graphical information in some seminar function, the Public Relations Officer giving the reporter the copy of the slide and this where the graph is no longer useful. Journalist will explain it on texts. Will the readers interested to read this kind of news article. No picture include. 


Krippendorff, K. (1986). Information Theory - Structural Models for Qualitative Data. Sara Miller McCune, Sage Publications, Inc.

Week 10 - Games and Avatars in the Information Age

As I see myself, I still consider I am a human being. A complete human being. I might agree that I am cyborgian in nature but in some way. History of people before us without technologies is not a cyborgian. Nowadays too much technologies growth rapidly from different kind of technologies people tend to relay on it so much. This is why people consider cyborgian and not a naturally human. Human who lost their parts of the body will replace with something that can be use and control by human. The way human being today communicate are mostly through the technologies. Mobile phones for example is one of the technologies factors that human being can not live without it. Communicating through social networking, messenger and anything related to the technologies change human being to a cyborg.

From these technologies there's a dating online involved which could lead to online marriage. The concept of online marriage from my point of view is the usage of Avatar and getting married to the net by using an avatar. This is not real marriage. Where as if the meaning of married online as a real person do the wedding ceremony through online on web cam and proper ceremony that can be consider as real marriage, but would anyone do that?

As stated by Lisa Nakamura, (2002) on her book titiled Cybertypes - Race, Ethnicity, and Identitiy on the Internet said: "As in text-only chat, the identities users choose say more about what they want than who they are, or rather, since these are eminently social spaces, what they think others want. In some sense, Club Connect is a racially diverse space, since players are choosing Asian- and African-American-presenting avatars, but since it is impossible to tell the race and ethnicity of these avatars offline, one must ask what kind of authenticity, integrity, or political efficacy these communities can have". (p.54)

From the example of the video above, I would still agree that these are still human beings who use the highest technologies and equipment to become a cyborgian in nature. Their bodies lying down at home, old and not as healthy as what we see.

According to Michael Ian Borer, "The increased use of electronic media, from radio to television to the Internet, is an inseparable consequence of modernization (Giddens 1991, 24). Due to the intricate connection between culture and technology, it is imperative to attempt to comprehend the impact of electronic media on human social relations and self-identity. As such, we need a critical social theory that provides a dialectical optic in order to adjudicate between the utopian and dystopian visions of computer-mediated communication. Working toward such a perspective, I propose the concept of the cyborgian self as an effective category for understanding the interrelationship between technology and humanity. Such an idea gains greater importance as the Internet becomes more affordable and accessible. Other attempts to use "cyborg" terminology have often focused on physical syntheses between humans and machines, such as the use of prosthetics, declaring the arrival of "posthuman" cyborgs (Haraway, 1991; Mazlish, 1993; Stock, 1993; Gray, 2001). The concept of the cyborgian self can incorporate, but is not limited to, material human/technology hybrids. The cyborgian self, however, speaks to a more widespread notion of technology as a cultural phenomenon that both affects and is affected by social actors' actions, practices, and renderings of social reality. Adopting the notion of the cyborgian self, understood as both an anthropological condition and an analytical construct, can be valuable as we make efforts toward a sharper understanding of the intersubjective nature of electronic media and the construction of identities in the contemporary late modern era".

He stated that, "In true cyborgian fashion, both Marcuse and McLuhan were aware of the extent that technology substantially affects everyday social behavior and human consciousness. What sets McLuhan's philosophy of technology apart from Marcuse and others is its radical elimination of the boundaries between technology and biology, consequently averting any degree of technological determinism. His approach is effective because it does not attempt to present technology as autonomous nor ahistorical. By doing this, he keeps the necessary social quality of technology intact. Though Haraway correctly asserts that "cyborg imagery can suggest a way out of the maze of dualisms in which we have explained our bodies and our tools to ourselves" (1991, 177), her thoroughly utopian science fiction is otiose as an analytical resource".

If I were given no body at all, I think I still can communicate through my mouth or hands or any other parts of a body that can make communication easier. No doubt nowadays, high technologies help a lot in every human body parts.


Nakamura. L. (2002). Cybertypes - Race, Ethnicity and Identitiy on the Internet. Routledge: New York and London.

Borer. MI.The Cyborgian Self: Toward a Critical Social Theory of Cyberspace. Retrieved from

Week 9 - Cinema and Television

What is the cinema and television for in our daily basis life? Besides giving the information and the to share the other world culture creativity and knowledge. Television and Cinema sometimes can be harmful to our cultural identity. From my point of view, this is because of the different culture shown in other countries with opposite culture.

Television here in Brunei which only has 4 channels of Radio Television Brunei (RTB) shows some cultural aspect of Brunei people but for some reasons this channel also show a lot series from outside countries which is beyond our culture. Some drama or movie had their own rules and regulations, I know this will sounds funny but in local drama holding hand is not encourage by the RTB authority. For them as a Muslim it is illegal to do so. A man or woman holding hands, a woman with tight outfits or violence will be censored by RTB.

Below is an example. A short film that created my local talent Adam Groves, a filmmaker with a vision.

His major role towards filmmaking is to develop some uniqueness from local point of views by sharing them online as most of his previous short films may not be appropriate. This is a person who tries whatever he could possibly do to achieve good entertainment in the local film industry.

Basically this video is trying to show more or less about the culture in a realistic way by writing the scripts in a proper Bruneian dialect instead of standard Malay which are heard/seen in local dramas nowadays. The creator has also included the typical lives of school boys on a regular day basis once encountering school-breaks. However, most of the additional story-lines are only fiction and for entertainment purposes only nor does the characters are related to any actual events.

As stated by Richard Hoggart, (1990) on his book titled, The Uses of Literacy stated that "Having a good time may be made to seem so important as to override almost all other claims; yet when it has been allowed to do so, having a good time becomes largely a matter of routine. The strongest argument against modern mass entertainments is not that they debase taste - debasement can be alive and active - but that they over - excite it, eventually dull it, and finally kill it....They kill it at the nerve, and yet so bemuse and persuade their audience that the audience is almost entirely unable to look up and say, 'But in fact this cake is made of sawdust'". (p.196-7).

In conclusion, what is Television and Cinema is study for the representation of the culture which may not tell the whole truth. Some of it was not suppose to be like what we see. In fact it is suppose to teach us the meaning of the real life and at the same time teaches us what we suppose to do to correct it. So that viewers can adopt it and imply it in this reality painful life.


Hoggart, H. (1990). The Uses of Literacy. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Week 8 - Photography

Since our memory can not capture every bitter sweet moments, camera will always help. From the photograph that we capture can directly recall on what occasion that picture was taken. But not all of the picture we captured can be remembered, unless it was labeled perfectly or arrange it in album properly with the dates, time and so forth.

But for some reasons, photography can be cultural and social instrument of critique. For example the picture below:-

This is a picture of a arm of an old women who lived alone without any help from her children. She'll always go to RIPAS Hospital for a blood diagnosis (kidney problem).
 The story of this old women has been published on Borneo Bulletin newspaper. Shes been all alone live in her own old, dirty house. When we interviewed her, she told us that she always go to RIPAS Hospitals on her own by bus as early as 5am. She said she have a children who live on their own house, but no one of them who dare to look after her and bring her to the hospitals. To critique just by seeing this picture is hard to explain. But with the story inserted in the news, people started to see the bad side of her children. More and more people come to help her. We also received a bad respond from her children who stated that their mother (this old women) are stubborn, she don't want to leave her old, small, dirty house. But why, at least the children could spare some times to bring her to the hospital? or at least renovate or revamp her house for her comfy? Her children never call office anymore. That is how the social here in Brunei react, they help, they deny and soon after that when the space and time faded away, we will never heard about her anymore. :)

A mid-age lady who show some danger of her house in Kampong Ayer.

The picture above is a story of a complained news against the government here in Brunei. I wrote the story and interviewed her. According to her, she made a complain to the authority about her danger condition house, in hope she will get help from the authority as soon as possible. As the news spread out the next morning, the authority started to call press room and ask about her details, soon after that this authority people made a press release saying that she never made complained or ask for help to the relevant authority. There was when the ambiguous truth never reveal until today. Pray for this old women with a disable husband be always safe living on that shaking and dangers condition kind of house.

That's how powerful both picture was, but have to include texts information on it to let people to understand the real story. The picture alone will make people thinks according to their own perceptions. This is when Brunei culture reveal. People use media to get what they want. Government people start to work when media published the complained. When they received the complain, it takes time for them to work.

As stated by Charlotte Cotton, (2004), on her book titled, The Photograph as Contemporary Art, say that, "....Brend and Hilla Becher have been and continue to be highly influential in the shaping of contemporary deadpan photography. .........The Bechers' collaboration on seris of black-and-white photographs of pre-Nazi German industrial and vernacular architecture, such as water towers, gas tanks and mine heads, began in 1975 and is ongoing. Each building within the series is photographed from the same perspective, notes on each are taken and a typology is systematically created. The Buechers' work appeared in 'New Topograhics: Photographs of Man-Altered Landscape', a touring exhibition that began in 1975 in America. The Show was an early attempt to mark european and North American photographers' reinvestment of the genres of topographical an architectural photography with the implications of contemporary urban generation and the ecological consequences of industry", (p.83).

Photographs can be very useful to our memory and to record nostalgic moment. But for me photograph will never tell the truth. This is because the usage of the technology in changing and manipulating the image without knowing the originality except to send it to the CSI of photography. When this fake picture posted on the interned or published it or spread it, Bruneian people will believe its true and start to critique socially and culturally.


Cotton, C. (2004). The Photograph as Contemporary Art. Thames & Hudson Ltd, London.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Week 7 - Narrative and the Media

According to my understanding, Narrative is a story telling. I start to ask myself, what kind of story telling? As I thought about it more, its Narrative and the Media. Once again I ask myself, what does it got to do with Visual Communications. The first thing that came to mind was television. It's visual way to broadcast informations. This does not only apply to televisions but other story telling devices such as photographs, newspapers etc.

As stated by Shlomith Rimmon - Kenan (2002) in his book titled Narrative Fiction "'Story' designates the narrated events, abstracted from their disposition in the text and reconstructed in their chronological order, together with the participants in these events.
Whereas 'story' is a succession of events, 'text' is a spoken or written discourse which undertakes their telling. Put more simply, the text is what we read. In it, the events do not necessarily appear in chronological order, the characteristics of the participants are dispersed throughout, and all the items of the narrative content are filtered through some prism or perspective ('focalizer')" (p.3)

From the above statement there is more to learn about Narrative. Its not just simply a story telling. What, when, how and who created the story in some theoretical aspect that we should look into.

As stated by Luc Herman & Bart Vervaeck (2005) in his book titled Handbook of Narrative Analysis, .....Narrative is concerned with the story as it plays out in the text. Whereas linguistic formulation was central to narration, the organization of narrative elements is central to narrative. Narrative does not concern the act of narration but rather the way in which the events and characters of the story are offered to the reader. For instance, a novel starts with the death of the male protagonist and then looks back to his first marriage from the vantage point of his son, after which it looks forward to the end of that marriage from the perspective of his second wife. So the level of narrative has to do with organizational principles such as (a)chronology and perspective" (p.42)

Talking about the chronology, I remembered one of my favorite school books called 'Goosebumps'. Its a horror novel. One of the uniqueness about this particular book was that, readers will always what to know the next thing that happens one thing after another. At the very beginning of the book, the writer would always include a tiny slight riddle and sometimes a catch-phrase to set the mood on excitement  before starting the first chapter. Below are some examples of the books I used to read when I was young.

Other example of Narratives that is now popular use in some movie is the existence of the narrator. This narrator could be the actor him/herself or someone who could never exist or appear on that movie. By means, a story with a narrative will make it easy to understand and not boring because not too much of talking (dialogue) within a long scene that includes in some movie which make the audience change their attention to something else. That is why narrative is important when shaping a visual image to the audience. Horror movie for instance, not only not in chronological order the beginning-middle-end style but sometimes they are using narrator to support the story when it comes to flash-back scene.

According to John Storey (1993), in his book, titled An Introductory Guide to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture stated that, "Structuralism is a theoretical method and not a political position. Moreover, unlike the other approaches discussed already, structuralism is, as Terry Eagleton points out, 'quite indifferent to the cultural value of its object: anything from War and Peace to The War Cry will do. The method is analytical, not evaluate. It is a way of approaching texts and practices which is derived from the theoretical work of the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Sassure". (p. 69)

He also stated that, "Post-structuralists reject the idea of an underlying structure upon which meaning can rest secure and satisfied. Meaning is always in process. What we call meaning is a momentary stop in a continuing flow of interpretations of interpretations." (p.85)

If only before I could understand the narratives in old style chronological. I used to hear a fairy tale with a happy ending story from my dad. Nowadays, story-telling can no longer be heard by his beloved daughter or grand-daughter due to the growth of Technologies. Television, for instance play their role in telling a story that includes visual colourful factor on it. Rather then hearing and imagining to what been told.


Kenan - S.R. (2009). Narrative Fiction. London and New York : Routledge

Herman. L. & Vervaeck.B. (2005). Handbook of Narrative Analysis. Lincon and London: University of Nebraska Press

Storey. J. (1993). An Introductory Guide to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture. The University of Georgia Press, Athens.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week 6 - The Ancient Art of Rhetoric and Persuasion

Rhetoric which is indirectly persuasion that made in any way, either in speech, written or visually. In Visual Rhetoric it is indirectly applied the term "what you see is what you think?" If you see something, that is what you think according to your perception plus you see that something with some persuasion messages which indirectly send it to your mind and persuade you the good things about that something.

For example, most of the toothpaste advertisement will show the two products. One with their 'best' products and the other one with a label X on it. They simply did two experiment by applying the toothpaste two different seashell and put in the chemical and knocked both seashell. The first seashell with their product brand does not broken at all while the other one was broken. Indirectly, they try to say that their toothpaste is rich in Florida unlike the other toothpaste that they label X, so don't buy other toothpaste or else you teeth will end up like the seashells once you chew the hard things.

When Aristotle said that Rhetoric is a form of persuasion and the persuasive strategy of rhetoric is call enthymemes which is a deceptive form of argument. A persuasion must have a proposition and argument and there are two types of propositional arguments which are the Deductive (The conclusion is the logical result and consequence of the propositional premise) and Inductive (The propositional premise seems to be true and provides enough support for the conclusion).

As stated by Christine Brooke-Rose (1981) in his book titled A Rhetoric of the Unreal, "The word rhetoric is a ambiguous as the word reality, both in denotation and in connotation. In denotation it can mean the verbal art used by the poet and apprehended by us; and it can also mean the critic's method of discerning and analyzing that verbal art." (p.12)

Brooke was saying this as a rhetoric in verbal or written situation but the smillarity is there when we apply it to the visual rhetoric. The visual is ambiguous in sending the messages but indirectly persuade visualizer through their thinking plus change their belief system.

The example of visual rhetoric are Rhetoric in Comics, Rhetoric in Film and Rhetoric in Advertising.

This is one of  the example of the Rhetoric in comic:-

No dialog involved in this comic but it is understood that the important to have friends can help you if you got any troubles and problems. Besides it is persuasive it also offers an arguments therefore I wish Dr Chirs is one of my friends... :)
Where as the example of Rhetoric in film is can be seen troughout the ideological of any scene made. For example the 2011 movie is basically the idea of political people and about the power. Most of these powerful people or VVIP people got to serve 1st while people who have no power or position at all just left behind with all sweet promises.

The example of Rhetoric in advertising is as follow:-

Basically this advert is about the drink which help you to sleep when you hardly get to sleep at night. So fellas if you got insomnia get one bottle of this, it persuade you to help you sleep early.

In conclusion any kind of rhetoric either verbal, written, visual or visual-written it can easily persuade others at any particular subject the designer can think of. It might come in with one messages or more then one indirectly messages if we analysize any picture of it. So people think wisely when it come into advert you might fall into buying their products which might not suitable for you.

Brooke-R, C. (1981). A Rhetoric of the unreal. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

Week 5 - Gestalt Effects and Schema Theories

During this Hari Raya Aidilfitri festive session, children are very excited to play with fire crackers and this is when I came up with the idea of asking my daughter, nephew and nieces on whether they know the dangers of playing with fire. They replied by stating that one can get burnt and killed. Then I asked them what do they know about the danger of fire crackers in which they simply answered that you can also get burned. However, I still had to supervise them while they played.

Before the candle was lit up for their perusal, I warned them again and again to be extra careful whilst they played else they would get burnt and will not enjoy Hari Raya (like how I’m feeling now due to assignments). They listened and then the safety caution was taken note of.

So I gave them a five minute presentation about fire safety and how to prevent fire accidents at home (which they reluctantly listened to). First of all I asked them to touch the fire from the lighter. Some felt the heat and some were showing off that he was able to touch the 'small' fire. After that I showed them the picture below:-

Picture 1

Picture 2
Picture 3

Then I told them that small fires can become big and one could lose everything including their lovely home and family such as what had happened with reference to the picture above. I asked them what they would do when they see a fire, and some simply replied dousing the fire with water whilst others said call 995 for Fire Fighter assistance. Other then showing the photo I also taught them how to prevent accidents at home such as not to overload the electrical sockets, switch off any switches when now in use and not to play with fire. Otherwise, we’d end up homeless.

Information derived pertaining to the photos included burnt walls, ceilings, piping, cupboards, pan, stove, switches, fluorescent lights as well as windows. The lower frame also has terminants that can change. For example, the floor could have been made from carpet or tile or wood. To remember and recognise a situation or object faster is the Frame Schema.

According to Wertheimer (1880-1943) five laws of Perception called the Principles of Pereceptual Organisation law are the First Law - Proximity Picture 1 as a whole, it is not grouped together naturally, the second law is about the Similarity where the picture 1 emphasis the burning kitchen while third law is the common fate which is Nil. Fourth law about the Picture 1 is that the Pregnantz which as if inform the viewer about the same things that is burning kitchen and the fifth law is the closure which manupulate perception, as seen as a whole this kitchen might be the where the fire started.

Why I chose this schema was because the real picture requires the ability to conceive and understand what I had presented to my daughter, nephews and nieces. I also choose the congruous schema so that they will understand what are the dangers of fire directly from seeing the picture.

Not much Gestalt theory was used for the presentation I did for the children. All I used was the Schema theory which is appropriate for their age group. They also think it is fun to play but it is sometimes hard to enjoy if we keep reminding them to be careful. From the colorful fire cracker may change into a grayish coloured wall and reddish skin if we get involved with fire.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Week 4 - Visual Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics

The three most important dimensions and rules of visual language are Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics. These three dimensions and rules are other steps further from studying the basic Semiotics. As explain by Dr. Chris on our Week 4 lecture he stated that Syntax is the grammar of visual image, while Semantics is making meaning from chaos and Pragmatics is the context and the changes in meaning. I understand that the use of Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics in visual language.

As stated by Gorge Yule (1996) in his book titled Pragmatics, "
Syntax is the study of the relationship between linguistic forms, how they are arranged in sequence and which sequences are well-formed. This type of study generally takes place without considering any world of reference or any user of the forms. Semantics is the study of the relationship between linguistic forms and entities in the world; that is, how words literally connect to things. Semantics analysis also attempt to establish the relationship between verbal descriptions and states of affairs in the world as accurate (true) or not, regardless of who produces that description. Pragmatics is the study of the relationship between linguistic forms and the users of those forms. In this three-part distinction, only pragmatics allows humans into the analysis." (p.4)

From that I assume the meaning of the three dimension and rules are more into words, verbal, spoken language not via images or visual language but more or less the same.

Visual Syntax is about the rules. The rule of an image created. However, most of the rules are used to manipulate and cheat people who see these images. Basically, images are not the same as reality. Some may be good some may be bad. Some may be beautiful and some may be ugly.

Furthermore there are a lot of rules for a million dollar image. Does Visual Syntax occur when the picture is being taken or while the picture was edited? As far as I am concerned, it is done when the image was edited. This is because I don't think a 5- year-old kid would know the rules of visual syntax but they do take some good pictures.

For example the picture below:-

These pictures show the same picture with three different works to be made in to a desktop background. Not much rules are followed.

Visual Semantics is the study of meaning. What it is and What it mean. This is when the work of an author is not important after it is interpreted but if good communication takes place when reinterpreting then it can give a new meaning.

Where as the Visual Pragmatic is the context and the changes in meaning. This is the combination of Syntax, Semantics and Semiotics combined together.


Yule, Goerge (1996). Pragmatics. Oxford University Press.

Week 3 - Semiotics Revisited

The study of sign or Semiotics sometimes may help us to think of the question why? Why do they put this signs easy to remember, Why do they use this signs for particular meaning, Why do they put that sign to particular place, why do we have to know about that sign that does not relates to our business and why do we have to study the signs if we already know the meaning?

Is signs really important to our everyday life? Are signs giving we profits to whatever signs we see in our everyday life? There are some of the reasons why we have to study sign especially when it comes to Semiotics that provides understanding of how discourses ideologies and politics are rated via visual rules and codes. As stated in our Week 3 lecture about Semiotics Revisited.

Sign are formed form the signifiers and signified. From the literal explanations of the sign it gives the denotation while connotation forms from the mental concept generated form the signifier of sign and that creates the analysis of semiotics to particular images or sign.

However, according to Mouton de Gruyter (1995) in his book titled Advances in Visual Semiotics The Semiotic Web 1992-93 that was written by M.Krampen titled Semiotics of Objects Revisited – The Connotative Meaning of Objects:

“For investigating the structure of the universe of everyday objects, we based our deginition on the affordance concept of Gibson (1979) and the idea of semantic distances of functions first advanced bu the late Abraham Moles (1972). We further adopted the distinction between denotative and stylistic (connotative) affordances. The latter are identified by looking at the different ways one and the same denotative function – e.g., a flower case – can be realized (e.g., a painted Chinese vase made of porcelain and a crystal vase decorated by engraving figures into it). It would be expected that functional and stylistic differences would also condition the structure of the universe of objects” (p.526-527)

From the example of a flower vase as stated in his writing people are looking in different ways one and the same denotative function.

Here is one of the examples of an advertising image, which can be analysis by the Semiotics factors.

The picture below shows a food advertisement to entice Food Lovers to come to Brunei. Which I was told to imagine being a graphic designer who hired by Tourism Board of Brunei.

The connations of the image above is the purity of Islam who served ‘Halal’ local food. Then people tend to imagine the taste of the five delicacies I attached to this picture. The backgrounds of Brunei children are the sign of the uniqueness of Brunei Philosophy Melayu Islam Beraja. The childrens wear tudung is the signified of Islam. This also leads us to Brunei Culture who wears tudung as a muslim Brunei girl or women. Besides that some of the food also normally what kids are like to eat.

Five local foods must try. From the left, Kelupis, Calak Daging, Currypuff, Makanan Cincin and Ketupat. I anchor the picture with Toursim Board of Brunei logo to show more about Brunei interest that is clearly stated inside every letter of B.R.U.N.E.I.

Semiotics is the study of signs. It provides understanding of how discourses, ideologies and politics are created via visual rules and codes.

Semiotics can expose the hidden truths and power of advertising and reveals the secret of identities through fashion. Semiotics provides an analytical language for visual communication professionals.
  • Mouton de Gruyter (1995). Advances in Visual Semiotics – The Semiotics Web 1992-93. Berlin: New York.