Wednesday, September 23

Exploring Semiotics

Don't you hate it when you have a GIF and it's a tedious and stupid trial to convert it to a JPG? I did not save this item as a GIF, it's terrible GIF material, but that's how it landed in my hard drive. I hate that.

Also... no one really knows why there's writing on this skull. There are dozens of skulls like this in the same gallery--we might call it an ossuary--and many of them also have writing across their foreheads, and many of the words can be translated (but not all), and to this day we're not precisely sure of the function of this. Were they curses? Were they identification? Were they simply reminders?

It looks creepy, but it also looks really cool. Of course it looks cool! It's a skull with awesome handwriting: two incredibly cool things! Would I decorate a room in such skulls? I would, until I got creeped out.

But what does this skull say to you? When you glance at it, what is the message that flashes through your own head? What do you suppose the function of that handwriting could possibly be? Does this image make you feel a connection with the past, like some isolated group of people were doing their best to reach forward into the future and connect with some unknown reader? Or does it make you feel threatened, like there's much more to the world than you were previously aware, and there's much you don't understand?

How else could you achieve this effect? What else could you use to strike your impressions of the skull into the imagination of another viewer? What other effect could you achieve that would evoke the same emotions as that dignified handwriting?

And if you ever found yourself in a position where your only reasonable course of action was to inscribe a message upon the skull of a deceased person, what do you think your motives would be? What could have driven you to such straits, beyond a simple lack of paper?

No comments: