The concept of representation and of how information is produced and submitted appealingly to an audience is essential to any written, visual or verbal text. Iconic, symbolic and indexical forms of representation when combined with preconceived ideas of particular subject matter assist in the forming of either negative or positive reactions with regards to a text. This paper examines the attached text and provides a critical reading of the strategies used to promote the ideas raised in the text and why such ideas are relevant. Issues raised include the premise of autonomous thought and the influence of technology as a form of human conditioning. The way in which the text uses both visual and ...view middle of the document...
(Sinclair 1987: 39)
This line of thought must be taken into consideration in any reading of a text as it works on the premise that no one particular reading of a text is neither correct nor incorrect and that the producer of a text must subscribe to this theory during design as the images will provoke different thoughts to different people.
The attached text provides its viewer with a number of clever, well thought produced ideas with the aid of visual and verbal communication. As it is primarily an advertisement for the study of Philosophy at University its ultimate objective is to sell the idea of Philosophy to students, or potential students. It is important to bear this in mind as it would be easy to overlook its objective when comparisons are made to other fields of study.
Symbolic representation is the dominant semiotic strategy used in this text, not unusual given the subject in question is Philosophy - a subject that prides itself on its ability to interpret and decipher codes and meanings at a depth lost on other disciplines. Being a text directed at those who may be considering Philosophy as a course option it appears natural to create an advertisement where words and images can provide a very symbolic and openly interpreted text. In its earliest stage of interpretation - if such a concept exists - the text provides intrigue and plays on the societal stereotype often associated with Philosophy, that everything is open to interpretation.
The intrigue generated is spawned from both images and words. Initially we are drawn to a group of fish, uniform in both appearance and direction with one exception. This particular fish, gold in colour and facing the opposite direction, captures the attention of the viewer and it is hear that interpretation begins. The immediate thought established is of a school of fish. The solitary exception of the gold fish swimming in the opposite direction conjures ideas in the viewers mind such as `going against the flow or grain'. It is obvious at this point if not before that the fish I am describing is a symbolic representation of a philosopher using independent thought whilst the school of fish is a symbolic representation of society. This image in its entirety combined with the phrase `Take the time to think' written across the top, pulls the reader in and makes them part of the text. The phrase allows the text to subtly ask the reader to take a step back and view surroundings differently if unable to achieve this then Philosophy will assist. In this sense the text uses the above mentioned socially conceived ideas of Philosophy to initially engage the reader, to force them to ponder what the text may initially mean.
Whilst still concentrating primarily on the fish and what they could mean it is also important to note that the lone fish is positioned in front of the other fish and as mentioned before, is completely gold in colour, both of these traits provide connotations of...