As the weather brightens, and the pasty population of London takes to the streets in pale droves a few of us here at Cultural Insight retreated back inside. For good reason though.
Organized by Chris Arning, Founder and Director of Creative Semiotics Ltd., and his crack team, the inaugural Semiofest was the first of its kind gathering of commercial semioticians. With interests ranging from the meaning of colour to the art of the luxury counterfeit, the gathering was a veritable candy-shop for our kind. Our teeth are rotten for all the food-for-thought (zing!).
Massimo Leone from the University of Turin offered this list of commandments for those looking to cut their teeth as semioticians. We’ll let you have a look before you have to suffer through another dental metaphor. Enjoy.
HOW TO BECOME A SEMIOTICIAN
1. You shall study semiotics; choosing a good university course with a good teacher; reading books, articles, essays; going back to the classics, avoiding compendiums, readers, and also most online materials: they are not good (for the moment)
2. You shall practice semiotics; initially through purposeless analysis; through interpretation for the sake of interpretation; annoy your friends with semiotics
3. You shall befriend other semioticians; meeting them regularly not only on the web, but also in congresses, symposia, colloquia; remember to celebrate semio-festivities
4. You shall not turn semiotics into a rhetoric; semiotics’ purpose is to help other people to understand meaning, not to convince them that you understand it better than them
5. You shall not turn semiotics into magic; semiotics is a discipline, one should be disciplined in learning and in practicing it
6. You shall not turn semiotics into religion; semiotics is only one out of a multitude of options; respect other disciplines and ask respect from them
7. You shall not turn semiotics into science; let’s face it: semiotics is part of the humanities; thank god meaning will never be ruled by the laws of necessity
8. You shall not turn semiotics into mystery; if nobody understands you but other semioticians, you are a failure
9. You shall not turn semiotics into bar conversation; if everybody appreciates you except other semioticians, you are a failure too
10. You shall not be worried that your mother doesn’t understand what you do; most people who do new things have skeptical mothers