Our next section of readings illustrate the semiotic approach to the study of culture. This is an approach that reached a height in popularity in the 70s and 80s, though remains relevant to contemporary interpretations of art. Please read the following essays from Mythologies, a seminal work on myth by Roland Barthes.

Roland Barthes on plastic:


Roland Barthes on the new Citroen car (circa 1957):


Roland Barthes on a certain type of art criticism/interpretation, and why these critics play dumb:

Blind and Dumb Criticism – Barthes

The following review of Mythologies should also be read, as it provide a useful framework for understanding Barthes’s semiotic analysis of the everyday, especially its more political aspects:

Review – Barthes Mythologies

I’d also like you to read Umberto Eco, another semiotician, on jeans and philosophy:

lumbar thought- Eco

The above is taken from Eco’s Travels in Hyperreality (1986), also titled Faith in Fakes. A review of the book can be found here:

Travels in Hyperreality Review

I have scanned Eco’s The Multiplication of the Media and Two Families of Objects, from his Travels in Hyperreality. See here:

Eco Multiplication of The Media and Two Families of Objects

Please read as much of the above as possible by our next Monday class.
As normal I will give an overview/introductory lecture.

NOTE: don’t be intimidated by the amount of reading – the above articles are all short, and so the amount of reading is comparable to previous weeks. We will also have a fortnight on this topic.

NOTE ALSO: both Mythologies and Travels in Hyperreality are available at the SCA library, and both books are easily sourced from book stores (cheap copies should be available at decent second hand book stores). It might be good to get your hands on a copy.

Cheers and happy reading.