Iconic Reproductions

Begins 3pm

[SS Started on the dot of 3.]

[OS An old oval shaped clock encased in a rectangular metal frame does not provide an accurate time frame.  The best we can do is say we are starting this post at approximate time 3pm GMT]

[SS Well I know, because I have been watching, counting and comparing time, that you have spent three minutes explaining why we may/may not have started at exactly 3pm GMT]

Experiments on iconic reproductions will, according to Eco, grow in sophistication and complexity as our technical equipment grows. [OS and as machine intelligence grows.] But he questions whether these are really examples of codes governing the replicated sign and not just codes governing the transmission of information, which he discussed in the opening chapters on his Theory of Semiotics.  A scanner replicating an image is better analysed within a framework of codes governing communication engineering.   A computer transferred image plotted out as a copy involved procedures connected to the production of doubles and partial replicas. (p 237)

The discussion changes significantly when the reproduced image is that of a dense oil painting being translated into a raster image that is quasi-dense.   This would render the oil painting into a 3D form thereby giving more depth and layers to its surface.  So in a sense the translated image would be more ‘like’ the original painting.  Eco asks, but does not conclude, if this 3D representation would change its status to ‘icon’ as opposed to a double or partial replica as a 2D translation would presume. (p 237)

What it does show, he states, is that, “…even in cases of non-replicable super-signs, there is the possibility of rendering them replicable using mechanical procedures that institute a ‘grammar’ there where was only a ‘text'”. (p 237)

A ‘super-sign’ is a ‘non-verbal sentence’  whose content can be an entire proposition. (p 231) So a person’s photograph can tell much more than the obvious description about gender identity or facial features.  It can tell as  much about the subject as a verbal sentence might.  Deciphering the messages of iconic signs through digital analyses further helps to uncover the ‘mystery of iconism’ and “can help to promote a further enquiry as to their semiotic nature”. (p 237)

Ends 3: 55pm [SS approximately!]

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