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Dec 18, 2022

The First Creativity Semiosis

Semiosis is the concept, borrowed from linguistics, that describes the process that leads from the signifier to the signified, from the sign (the vehicle) to the idea it represents. Letters placed next to each other, by convention (that is, we have all agreed on this point), represent an idea (an object, an emotion, etc.) universally recognized (although subject to "interpretability").

The discourse would be really long and one could mention scholars of aesthetics, linguistics, philosophers, writers who have devoted a lot of time and explored such aspects, starting from Benedetto Croce or Umberto Eco (to name just two of my favorites), but also artists and real movements such as deconstructionism, cubism, abstract art in general... The vastness of the subject is truly enormous, and certainly a simple article would not be enough to describe the evolution in the history of the interpretive levels of the concept of semiotics. Here, I want to limit myself only to my own thoughts and what was the idea that gave birth to this project.

In simplicity, mine is an attempt to identify semiosis in the creative process that transforms the primordial graphic sign (shapes, colors, transparencies, relationships between parts, overlaps) into a vehicle, into meaning, capable, therefore, of conveying a universally recognized meaning. This is a fundamental point, perhaps, and a first substantial difference with semiotics in linguistics. In fact, I asked myself, how do words come about? If I encounter a word like "ocean" for the first time in my life, made up of this sequence of characters. And I have never seen the ocean, never heard of it, never read a poem that says "her eyes are blue like the ocean", never read anything about it and have not seen any movie where the ocean is shown. Then, how can I give meaning to this word? Of course, I can use my imagination and imagine what an ocean looks like, but my direct experience gives me no information about it. I can only speculate, hypothesize, imagine, put together other experiences and deduce, in short.

Well, there are ideas, or things very different from the ocean that are still not part of our experience, in the sense that they cannot be sensed, yet we know what they are, even if it is an abstract or very distant concept from physical and sensory experience. I think of the universality of art. Is art art in itself? Or does it only exist because on the other side of the artist, behind the work he has created, there is someone who can interpret it or understand it or make it capable of generating emotion, thought, reflection, memory? If this is true, then does art ignore meaning? Perhaps in this case, in art, the sign does not want to convey a meaning, but only to generate it. And the genesis is different every time the interlocutor changes.

If two people are in front of a painting, exhibited in an art gallery, by a famous artist recognized throughout the world, then probably the two people looking at that painting "feel" something? Do they feel it's art for what reason? And if they feel something, do they feel the same thing or are the sensations "also" the result of personal and unique life experiences, personal sensitivity, intelligence and culture?

My thought is that the true semiotic process cannot do without the observer. The sign remains the same, immutable, but the meaning changes, depending on the time, space, and experiential history of the interlocutor. As it is he who generates the true meaning conveyed by the sign, regardless of the author's intentions. So is it a sort of universal incomprehensibility? I express myself, but only a part of my thought is transmitted to the other. The other part is either lost because it is meaningless or modified in intention because it is elaborated through different experiential paradigms.

The complexity of these issues is enormous, and there is certainly no easy answer. However, the study and exploration of semiotics remain fascinating and open to interpretation and development.

So Creativity Semiosis aims to be an experience, a game, a creative exercise. One that may also involve others who, like me, would like to understand.

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