CONVERGENCE OF MEANING
Convergence of meaning: shared meaningful practices and codes related to consumerism. The symbolic environment as common space for a shared culture
One interesting feature to consider is the convergence of meaning when analyzing visual manifestations as forms of communication on a global scale and how it takes place. The first implication in a globalized world is that individuals within societies must share certain codes to communicate effectively, even though language and interpretation of meaning depend on context and culture to be understood accurately. For Imma Tubella globalization refers to mainly two processes both on the economic level and on the cultural level. There must be therefore some transformations taking place on a global scale that enables this convergence of meaning, apart from the creation and expansion of multinational companies. Addressing the concept of transformation in culture as a global manifestation Manuel Castells proposes that it evolves along two major bipolar axes: Cultural globalization opposing cultural identification and individualism opposing communalism.
Castells observes three levels that help constitute an effective global culture: cosmopolitanism, hybridization and consumerism. Focusing on the third Castells defines it as “the most fundamental layer of cultural globalization”. Indeed consumerism has entered every form of human activity positioning itself as the epicenter of culture. We can then conclude that since we share the same capitalist economic system almost all over the world, at least partially we also share the same cultural outcomes. What are then the shared codes we use within the global transformation of communication? Certainly as presented before, imaging and representational codes are to be considered together with information codes. During a webinar at the Rochester Institute of Technology on design practices in Italy related to work produced at La Fabrica the speaker at some point justified the utilization of images in design elements and advertising campaigns based on its universality. He was obviously referring to the interpretation of meanings in different contexts, which would be similar due to the naturalization of codes. Branding allows consumers to assign meaning to consumerism within visual culture, a term that refers to the ways in which cultural elements are primarily presented in visual form. As Nicholas Mirzoeff points out:
Visual culture is concerned with visual events in which information, meaning or pleasure is sought by the consumer in an interface with visual technology.
As individuals we are today surrounded by the visual under cultural globalization where branding help us find meaning in consumerism. Advertising is the visual form that feeds back the global entertainment industry, therefore analyzing the codes that interact specifically within its practice can be paramount to understand communication and the convergence of meaning that takes place within this complex pattern. Even though the spread of American popular culture embodied in movies, comics or even in art can be seen ideologically as a western source of a global cultural production it is true that other cultures are still there, they have not disappeared. In fact opposing consumerism we find multiculturalism in Castells’ graphic as a reaffirmation of the existence of many different cultures. Therefore global is referred as linked to the system that supports consumerism. However, for communication to take place we still need to share codes. If we share the same codes, both in the technological devices that we use in order to create images and the distribution of information and in the readings-signifieds that arise from the usage within the consumer society, can local idiosyncrasy only be addressed through narratives? Are we leading to a simplified understanding of representational codes under the umbrella of consumerism? Or do those codes get local interpretations and manifestations? Is it possible to depart from the idea of a westernized culture when the standards of representation and the narratives are imposed by the culture of consumerism? And finally how can the de-westernization of communication take place in westernized societies?
© Rodrigo Gonzalo
The common ground for a shared culture in global communication: truth, identity and consumerism in the Post-photographic era, (excerpt) 2013 Rodrigo Gonzalo
The Louvre has invited the artist Walid Raad to take part in a collaborative project over three consecutive years. The first part of this project is an exhibition called “Preface to the First Edition”, with an accompanying publication.
Louvre Museum (Paris, France): News
http://www.urbanparisattractions.com/hongkong-events/walid-raad-%e2%80%94-preface-to-the-first-edition/Urban Paris Attractions
The halfcat, attracting newly revived interest on Twitter thanks to this blog post, appears to have first been spotted in this blog post in August 2009. But there are no attributions. The latest reports pin it to Street View - not mentioned in the original posting - and it certainly appears to be Street View image, but, lacking coordinates, the halfcat seems destined to be a mystery forever, one of any number of mythical beings, lost in the Clouds.
More interesting than the halfcat’s strangeness, perhaps, is its unknowability. Someone saw the halfcat, snapped it, but the route back is lost. The databases contain such multitudes of new myths.
Highway 140. Mexico.
Malecón Seafront Shop Sign #2 and #6, Veracruz, Mexico. WIP.