Monday, 14 November 2011

Notes from New Vocabularies in Film Semiotics Structuralism, Post Structuralism and Beyond by Robert Stam, Robert Burgoyne and Sandy Flitterman - Lewis

Burgoyne Robert, Flitterman-Lewis Sandy, Stam Robert, (1992), New Vocabularies in Film Semiotics Structuralism, Post - Structuralism and Beyond, London, Roulledge

1. The Origins of Semiotics

  • Semiotics - the study of signs
  • recently a paradigm (virtual key) to the mind and general human existence
  • when language speaks of itself it is Meta Language distingushed between the language we speak and the language which we use to speak about it
  • "One is his definition of the sign as 'something which stands to somebody for something in some respects or capacity." (Stam, 1992: 8)
  • The object is what sign stands for, the interpretant is the 'mental effect'
  • Iconic signs as a sign representing an object by virtue of it's own internal nature
  • Indexical sign - a sign determined by it's dynamic object by virtue of being in a real relation  to it
  • Symbolic sign involves a conventional link between sign and interpret
  • Saussure's signifier is the sensible material/ visual siginal that triggers a mental concept
  • The siginified is not a thing, an image or a sound but instead a mental representation
  • Paradigm - a virtual or vertical set of units which have in common the fact that have relations of similarities and constrast
  • e.g. alphabet - letters are chosen from it to form words
  • Post structuralism described as a shift of interest from the siginified to the siginifier, from spartial to the temporal and from structure to structuration
  • "Broadly speaking, post structuralism entails a critique of the concepts of the stable sign of the unified subject of identity and of truth." (Stam, 1992: 23)
  • Derrida also introduced Differance - suspension between 'to differ and to defer', process by which an opposition is reproduce within constituent terms
  • undecideable alternation between structure and what is repressed by it

2. Cine Semiology

  • Polysemy - meaning 'semes' or meanings
  • "It shares with other signs, including linguistic signs, the property of being open to multiple significations. The accompanying captions of photographs or written materials in a film." (Stam, 1992: 46)
  • Semiologists analysis of pictorial representations, draw on notion of codes which defines the differances and correspodences across a series of messages
  • message - meaningful sequence generated by coded processes and communicative utterances
  • minimal units of cinematic language are various real objects that occupy the frame = cinemes by analogy with phonemes
  • Eco suggests 'Triple Articulations as a cinematic
  • shots don't gain meaning by paradigmatic constrast with other shots
  • film selects and combines images and sounds to form syntagmas
  • Iconic recognition - codes of recognised objects
  • Iconic designation - codes by which we name them
4. Psychoanalysis

  • Aim for psychoanalytic film theory is a systematic comparrison of cinema and structure of socially and psychically individual
  • psychanalysis founded by Freud = whose object of study is unconcious in all of it's manifestations
  • The unconcious processes in film studies is what is known as Meta Psychological
  • "Lacanian formulation involves the first acquisition of 'self', that is the way that the subject begins to establish an identity within a university of meaning through a series of imagery identifications, ... " (Stam, 1992: 128)
  • "The film's images and sounds are not meaningful without the (unconscious) work of the spectator, and it is in this sense that every film is a construction of it's viewer." (Stam, 1992: 139)

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