We had to undertake several tasks for this assignment to understand and test the concept of polysemy.
Firstly we were asked to read an essay by Roland Barthes called ‘The Rhetoric of the Image’, take notes and then get together into groups of three or four to discuss it and suggest why it may have implications for our design disciplines. ‘The Rhetoric of the Image’ was a difficult essay to get my head around I think this may have been due to the fact it had been translated from French to English. Barthes suggests in his essay that an image has more than one meaning, the meaning may change depending on who is looking at it. He also uses the example of an advert to show that advertising images hold three particular messages; a linguistic message, a coded iconic message and a non- coded iconic message. He suggests that a linguistic message, an image with text on it, will direct a persons thoughts towards a meaning chosen in advance it also will limit the projective power of the image. A coded iconic message is symbolic. From the image he used, shown below, the message will represent something such as; Italian food is about to be freshly prepared. A non-coded iconic message has no symbolic meaning, the message from the image will simply be a bag of pasta and vegetables.
Polosemy creates a problem for designers as it means a persons interpretation of your work may not be the message you want them to receive or think of. Polosemy means that your work can be open to several different interpretations. This is a disadvantage if you want your design to speak for its self. The accompaniment of a presentation, text, additional drawings, image or even the context in which it is shown will be necessary to ensure everyone understands and sees the bigger picture you intended them to. I feel this is particularly necessary for interior design as not a lot of people realise that there is a lot of thought and meaning behind the design created. Shows like ‘Changing Rooms’ told the world all we do is thoughtlessly pick paint colours and a few pretty scatter cushions. Extra information should be provided along side our work so that people can see the depth of our designs or at least the story behind them.
After our discussions we moved on to the next part of our assignment. This involved selecting three images at random through the ‘randomizer’ on the ‘Stock.xchng’ website. www.sxc.hu