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Re: VMs: semiotics & vms: homepage

Hi Nick

-----Messaggio originale-----
Da: Nick Pelling <incoming@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
A: vms-list@xxxxxxxxxxx <vms-list@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Data: mercoledì 10 settembre 2003 12.17
Oggetto: Re: VMs: semiotics & vms: homepage

>While in many ways I applaud semiotics as a discipline, it does seem to me
>that the VMs is in many ways a worst-case scenario for it, pointing right
>to the heart of what the semiotics "research programme" (in Lakatos' sense)
>is all about (ie, meaning) and how its various approaches & frameworks can
>fail to satisfy when (as in the VMs' case) meaning is inaccessible -
>semiotics seems essentially predicated on *access to meaning*.

Paraphrasing Greimas "It is extremely difficult for me to study the meaning
and not to write meaningless things".
You're right. It is (at the moment?) impossible to have a straight semiotic
of the VMs, and you expressed very well all the reasons for it. So, if I
were trying to do it, I'd just be suicide. ;-)

For now, what I have in mind is a much humbler project. I'd just like, first
of all, to put together the most promising thesis and research about the VMs
and express them in proper semiotic terms. Secondly, I'm working on a
"structuralist semiotic"-style (à la Hjelmslev) conceptualization of
"encryption" / "decryption" / "polygraphy": it shouldn't be too complex.
Step three, I'm going to try to include _decryption_ in Eco's
"intrasemiotical / infrasemiotical translation theory". Addendum: I assume
(as an exercise) that the text in the VMs is glossolalia and I try to stress
the characteristics that induce readers to make guesses and make such an
artifact so appealing --> some kind of semiotics of hoaxes.

>All in all, this would appear to mean you're engaged in a semiotic analysis
>of the means of a semiotic endeavour, which could end up slightly circular
>/ self-referential if you're not careful. :-o


>That is, rather than simply ask what semiotics tells us about the VMs, one
>might instead ask - what does the VMs tell us about semiotics? :-o

That's exactly what I'm trying to do :-) which actually is a difficult task,
and slightly masochistic too.

Let's look at it this way. What I can do for this group is, at the moment,
just review, index and collect past theories. Of course my paper will be
more technical than this, but basically this could be my contribution to the
What the VMs could suggest to semiotics? first of all, some proposal for a
semiotic definition of cryptography, steganography, encrypting and
decrypting. Such a definition won't help decoding the VMs, but could still
be useful.

And, on the other hand, the VMs should teach practitioners of semiotics like
me to be a little more humble ;-)

many thanks

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