Out of both lectures, symbols was definitely something that caught my interest, especially when we delved in deeper during the Thursday seminar with Andy after the second lecture with Jason on ‘Maps, Journeys and Signs’.
‘Semiotics’: “the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.” After that Thursday seminar, this definition has suddenly become vastly more interesting to me. Interpretation. How can signs and symbols be up for interpretation? A fire exit sign is a fire exit sign, isn’t it?
This got me thinking about the twenty one pilots symbol:
It’s just a few vertical and diagonal lines joined by a hyphen, isn’t it? Well, the meaning of this symbol is up to loads of interpretation. Moreover, it means something to one person and not to the other. The lead singer of twenty one pilots, Tyler Joseph, won’t disclose what the meaning of the symbol is to him because that will ruin what it means to other people.
This kind of idea applies to hand signals as well. After spending a lot of my childhood in the Middle East, I noticed that the Arabs used a lot of hand signals which I learnt myself. But in England, they wouldn’t make any sense at all.
At 1:00 in this video is an example of one of those hand the signals, the ‘wait’ hand signal which I discussed in the seminar. Doing that kind of hand signal in England would most likely be considered quite rude, but in the Middle East it isn’t rude at all. It means something to one culture, but not to another.
Another example of this idea is maths symbols. To me personally, they don’t make a lot of sense simply because I don’t like maths. I look into it too much, and I always ask why I’m doing certain equations, and how they work, instead of just doing them. To someone else, maths symbols could be the kind of thing to get them excited, just like seeing the splice symbol in Premiere Pro gets me excited to edit.
How can these ideas relate to digital media? Because a lot of films are up for interpretation too. A lot of films mean different things to different people. A lot of films are excellent to one person and not to another. A lot of films excite one person, but not another. Just like some people don’t like or understand twenty one pilots, some people don’t like or understand Mr. Nobody. Opinion, perspective and life experiences play a big part in how different people see different things.
Semiotics can be related directly to film, or digital media of any kind. I find that incredibly interesting, and it’s not a link I would ever have made.