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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, November 06, 2003
    Reading Pictures
    Sorry about the language, but I love the subversiveness of this, it makes me laugh. It is the work of Katy Dawkins, who "places graffiti into an authoritative arena, exploring the contrast between 'official' and 'unofficial' language." It's titled Interference, "from a series of interventions in public spaces. The original text is taken from nearby graffiti and rendered in the "official" visual language of signage."

    This accompanies David Crow's article Reading Pictures in this month's Creative Review. Head of Graphic Arts at Liverpool John Moores University, and about to publish Visible Signs, an Introduction to Semiotics. He writes:
      Much of our sense of who we are comes through our interaction with signs. We live in a world not of things but of symbols, a world where the symbolic value comes first. Our desires and our sense of our own identities are all moulded and manipulated by the signs and symbols that surround us.
    His mission is to introduce design students to the fundamentals of semiotics: "Basic semiotic theories are taught in most art schools as part of a contextual studies programme, but many students find it difficult to understand how these ideas might impact on their own practice." If the book's contents are as consistently provocative as Katy Dawkins' example, it'll be worth a look. Another one for the Wish List...