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Introduction to Semiotics of Cultures, 2010 Juri Lotman – Universe of the Mind Chapter 2 I-I and I-S/he communication. Vesa Matteo Piludu. University of Helsinki. Chapter 2 I – S/he I - I. Communication system I-S/he Adresser I Context – Message - Contact - Code

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Introduction to Semiotics of Cultures, 2010Juri Lotman – Universe of the MindChapter 2I-I and I-S/he communication

Vesa Matteo Piludu

University of Helsinki

Chapter 2 i s he i i
Chapter 2 I – S/he I - I

  • Communication system I-S/he

  • Adresser I

  • Context – Message - Contact - Code

  • AdresseeS/he

  • Information transferred in space

  • Relevance: quantity of information

  • Media

I - I

  • Self-communication

  • Self-reflection on meanings

  • Information can be transferred in time (reminders)

  • Mnemonic

  • Or creative function (supplementary information)

  • Addresser and addressee remain the same, but the message is reformulated and acquire new meanings or is expressed in new languages

  • Relevance: quality of information

  • Art

The i i communication
The I – I communication

  • The I –I communication is sensible to external codes or different languages (music, visual codes, architecture), or messages and texts

  • Isn’t produced in monastic isolation

Example 1 dream at sea by tyuchef
Example 1: Dream at sea by Tyuchef

  • Both the sea and the storm rocked our boat

  • Drowsy I gave myself over entirely to the whim of waves

  • There were two infinites in me

  • An they began willfully to play with me.

  • Around me the rocks sounded like cymbals

  • The winds answered and waves sang.

  • Deafened I lay in the chaos of sounds,

  • But my dreams rose up over the chaos of sounds

Example 1 i i and foration of new messages
Example 1:I – I and foration of new messages

  • I - I

  • Message 1 (importance of sounds)

  • Is transformed in Message 2 (importance of sounds for the self)

  • Code 1 (music) – Code 2 (poetry)

Example 2 eugene onegin a novel in verse written by alexander pushkin
Example 2: Eugene Onegin a novel in verse written by Alexander Pushkin

  • All translation by Charles Johnson available as Google-book or Penguin classic

  • Chapter 8 / XXXVI - Universe of Mind, page 24

  • What happened? Thought his eyes were reading,

  • His thought were on a distant goal:

  • Desires and dreams and grieves were breeding

  • And swarming in his inmost soul.

  • Between the lines of text as printed,

  • His mind’s eyes focused on the hinted

  • Purport of other lines; intense

  • Was his absorption in theirs sense.

Example 2 eugene onegin a novel in verse written by alexander pushkin1
Example 2: Eugene Onegin a novel in verse written by Alexander Pushkin

  • Chapter 8 / XXXVI - Universe of Mind, page 24

  • Legends, and mystical traditions,

  • Drawn from a dim, warm-hearted past,

  • Dreams of inconsequential past,

  • Rumors and threads and premonitions,

  • Long, lively tales from wonderland,

  • Or letters in a young girl’s hand.

Example 2 eugene onegin a novel in verse written by alexander pushkin2
Example 2: Eugene Onegin a novel in verse written by Alexander Pushkin

  • Chapter 8 / XXXVII - Universe of Mind, page 24

  • Then gradually upon sensation,

  • And though, a sleepy numbness steals;

  • Before his eyes, imagination

  • Bring out its faro pack, and deals.

  • Chapter 8 / XXXVIII - Universe of Mind, page 24

  • Who could have looked the poet better,

  • As in the nook he’d sit alone

  • By blazing fireplace, and intone

  • Idol mioor Benedetta,

  • And on the flames let fall unseen

  • A slipper, or a magazine?

Example 2 eugene onegin a novel in verse written by alexander pushkin3
Example 2: Eugene Onegin a novel in verse written by Alexander Pushkin

  • Codes supporting I-I communication (self reflecion):

  • Printed texts (source for imagination)

  • Flickering of fire

  • The intoned tunes

  • The hero is not searching for an immediate message in the texts

  • He is reading between the lines

  • The book serve to stimulate the flow of the thoughts: the faro pack of his imagination

  • The intrusion of other codes (fire, texts, music) organize and stimulate the internal monologue of the hero

Buddist monk and stone park
Buddist monk and stone park

  • The Mathematical rhythm of the sand garden / stone parks evoke a mood conducive to introspection

  • Karesansui, or "dry gardens," are abstract representations of natural landscapes in which stones, gravel, sand, and moss are used to depict mountains, rivers, and islands

Nijo jo jo castle exterior and garden it was the tokugawa shogun s kyoto residence
Nijo-jo [jo=castle], exterior and garden It was the Tokugawa Shogun's Kyoto residence

Human communication
Human communication

  • Based on two models

  • I-s/he:

  • Already given information transmitted from one person to another using the same code

  • I-I

  • Increase of information (new ideas), its transformation, reformulation using new codes

  • Self-discovery, auto-psychotherapy

Problems of i i communication
Problems of I-I communication

  • Vygotsksy

  • The internal speech is soundless

  • This create a problem when it’s necessary to express it by sounds or words

  • Kyukhebeker(prison diary):

  • “I have been dreaming not of objects, or events, but some kind of abbreviations which relate to them like hieroglyphs to a picture”

  • Intense symbolization

  • This can lead to cryptography or a form of writing understandable only by the writer

  • Sometimes mnemonic draft (done by musicians or writers) are not comprehensible for other people

Example pushkin love anagrams
Example: Pushkin love anagrams

  • Creative I – I communication could lead to a kind of innovative cryptography, anagrams, creative writing

  • Pushkin, 1928, poem: Alas! The tongue of garrulous love

  • Dedicated to Anna Alekseevana Olenina

  • Jotting:

  • Ettenna eninelo

  • Eninelo ettenna

  • Olenina

  • Annette

  • Anagram of the name and surname of Anna, Annette in French

  • The repetition create an hypnotic rhythm, similar to a love spell

Tension between the codes
Tension between the codes

  • If a message in a natural language

  • Is followed by a supplementary code (rhythmical)

  • There is tension between the two codes

  • As a result the

  • the text could be interpreted following the secondary code (the rhythmical)

  • But the normal semantic values remain valid

Texts used as codes
Texts used as codes

  • A text is used as a code

  • When it does not add simple informative messages

  • But it transform the self-understanding of the person who has engendered the text

  • And it transfers already existing messages into a new system of meanings

Example pushkin s tatyana onengin
Example: Pushkin’s Tatyana (Onengin)

  • Tatyana read novels in that way:

  • Seeing herself a creation

  • Clarissa, Julie, or Delphine

  • By writers of her imagination,

  • Tatyana, lonely heroine,

  • Roamed the still forest like a ranger,

  • Sought in her book, that text of danger

  • And found her dreams, her secret desire;

  • She signed, and in trance co-opted

  • Another’s joy, another breast,

  • Whispered by hearth a note addressed

  • To the hero that she’d adopted.


  • The text of Tatyana is not a simple media message, like news

  • But a code, a new language, a model for reinterpreting reality

Poetic and artistic texts
Poetic and artistic texts

  • Oscillate between the I – s/he and the I-I communication

  • Both are present


  • As a whole is more oriented towards self-reflective communication, but the element of I-s/he communication are always present

  • The literate generally has a negative attitude towards the standard message texts

  • The poetic text could be even in conflict with some laws of the natural language

  • But also in the most extreme cases, avant-garde poetry is perceived as a text in a natural language (French, Russian)

  • Otherwise it couldn’t fulfill his communicative function

  • Poetry is a pendulum, oscillating between I-s/he and I-I systems

Art and culture
Art and culture

  • The laws of construction of an artistic text are very largely the laws of construction of culture as a whole

  • There are cultures (media) where the I-s/he channel is predominant:

  • Cultural consumer as ideal addressee

  • great quantity or bombing of information

  • few self-reflection, passivity

  • Education as acquisition of knowledge

  • And other more oriented to auto communication (avant-garde)

Folk culture
Folk culture

  • The participant of a carnival are all receivers and senders of information: they are generally all actives

  • The system of language (folk song) could be formal and structured, but the contents are often free

  • The listener could be a singer and he could transform the song in his future performance

  • A modern theatergoer, if isn’t a theatre professional, is more passive than a storyteller

  • The folk cultures are however less dynamic in terms of acquisition of new knowledge

The perfection in the middle
The perfection in the middle

  • The most viable cultures are those system

  • Where the struggle between the two systems has not resulted in an all-out victory for one of them