a living organism characterized
by voluntary movement
suggesting heaven or divinity
integrated in nature
the arrangement of and relations between
the parts or elements of a complex whole
the act of inhabiting
from Italian popolaccio, rabble,
augmentative of popolo 'the people'
human effort to imitate, supplement, alter,
or counteract the work of nature
the process, act, or faculty of perceiving
high on the scale of brightness

flowering, or state of flowering, the blooming of

flowers; blowth

the Latin form of Greek Phoibos
'Shining-one'
relating to natural scenery
to be like
portending to widespread devastation
or ultimate doom, 'momento mori'
a building, especially one of imposing
appearance or size
consisting of, relating to, or being in water

concept

 

When using a dictionary, either to find a word or to decipher one’s meaning you are signing up, in part, to Saussure's 'theory of the sign'. This theory, in which he defined a sign as being made up of the matched pair of signifier (word) and signified (referent). For example whilst the letters 'h-o-r-s-e' spell horse (word), they do not embody 'horseness' (referent). For what is a horse? The online free dictionary defines a horse as: A large hoofed mammal having a short-haired coat, a long mane, and a long tail, domesticated since ancient times and used for riding and for drawing or carrying loads. Therefore would a horse which has lost its tail automatically become an unhorse and signify something new? Not in my mind.
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Close your eyes now, imagine a horse.
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I assure you that our horses are different, each person imagines their own horse, unique, some minutia at least will make it their horse. What did you see? Was it a Mare standing stable in a stable or was it a Stallion ploughing through the waves on a golden sundrenched shoreline, ridden by a lover with desperate hurry.
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This highlights that the ability to misunderstand and be misunderstood when using words alone is actually much greater than the ability to understand clearly.

 

In contrast to Plato's idea that notions are eternally stable, Saussure argues that even root concepts are malleable. The signifier is more stable whereas the signified varies greatly, for example between each specific tail.

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The word (signifier) is NOT God and far from it, it is merely a weak agent of communication that at once collapses the ‘horseness’ of a horse through the loss of its tail and over reverrence to such a weak offering of the truth may well defeat humanity.

 

In conceiving this website in 1999 I embodied this idea and choose the 16 signifiers, the galleries above each of which is signified with 16 images from my travels and experiences from 1995 through 2012. I started with a nice snappy Olympus in India in 1995, lost a better Cannon to the Sahara Desert. I then got more serious with the well loved AE-1 Cannon. Then went nuts in Bulgaria and Taiwan once I discovered some cheap 1.6 megapixel camera in 1999. Been through a few cameras and a few countries more since then, now shooting with a Nikon D5100 and still occasionally the AE-1.

 

I am currently living in Barcelona, Spain.

 

For my latest PHOTOGRAPHY & DESIGN website

 

 

pawlenglish.com

 

Images © 1995 - 2014 Pawl English

 

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