The Meanings Of Monuments And Memorials Toward A Semiotic-Books Pdf

The meanings of monuments and memorials toward a semiotic
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F Bellentani M Panico 29, 297 Political elites use monuments to represent their dominant worldviews in space Consequently. monuments represent selective historical narratives focusing only on events and identities that are. comfortable for political elites, This is particularly evident in the post socialist city Tamm 2013 During transition political elites. in post socialist countries established new monuments to celebrate the kinds of ideals they wanted. citizens to strive toward Often this process was simultaneously supported by the reconstruction. relocation and removal of monuments erected during Communism Kattago 2015 180 These in. terventions on Communist built environment are still going on in some post socialist countries for. example in April 2015 the Ukrainian government approved laws to enable the removal of Commu. nist monuments, However these interventions on Communist monumental remains were far from being widely. accepted and often resulted in heated political discussion social tension and conflict2 The contro. versies around the meanings of monuments in post socialist cities first show that monuments are not. neutral urban decorations but rather important sources of cultural identity and memory Moreover. these controversies demonstrate that political elites cannot fully control how individuals and social. communities interpret monuments Once erected monuments can be used reworked and reinter. pret in ways that are different from or indeed contradictory to the intentions of those who had them. installed Hay et al 2004 204, The study of monuments has so far remained rather marginal within the humanities and social. sciences One reason for this may have been that a multitude of disciplines have studied monuments. from different points of view As a consequence the term monuments has become vaguely defined. ranging from purely aesthetic built forms to powerful tools to reproduce authority and control Urban. and art history have explored monuments as aesthetic objects focusing on their immanent histori. cal and artistic values Human and cultural geography has analyzed monuments as political tools to. legitimize the power of political elites While urban and art history has largely underestimated the. political dimension of monuments human and cultural geographers have rarely explored how the. material and symbolic aspects relate to the political dimension of monuments. In this paper we propose a holistic approach to describe how these various aspects overlap and. reinforce each other in the meaning making of monuments The semiotic approach to monuments. can provide adequate tools to investigate the material the symbolic and the political dimensions. of monuments as interdependent In doing so semiotics can revise the rigid distinctions that have. characterized previous research on monuments such as material symbolic visual political art power. designer user Semiotic analysis accounts for the dialogicity of meanings circulating around monu. ments and specifically for the interplay between designers and users interpretations Lindstr m et. al 2014 126 Finally semiotics can be useful to explore how different individuals and social commu. nities differently interpret monuments, In section 2 we review the main theoretical and analytical approaches to the meaning making of.
monuments In section 3 following proposals in semiotics of text we propose a model that considers. designers and users as equally contributing to the meaning making of monuments In section 4 we. distinguish meanings in four autonomous but related functions the cognitive the axiological the. emotional and the pragmatic In section 5 we describe two autonomous but related dimensions of. monuments the visual divided in material and symbolic and the political The distinction between. visual and political dimensions is a useful analytical tool but it cannot be projected onto the onto. logical state of monuments in practice visual and political dimensions always function together and. influence each other through continuous mediations In section 6 we explain that cultural context. and specifically the surrounding built environment largely affect the meaning making of monuments. 30 The meanings of monuments and memorials toward a semiotic approach. 2 How have monuments been studied, The study of monuments has so far remained rather marginal within the humanities and social. sciences However there have been a significant number of studies focusing on different aspects of. monuments Urban and art historians have considered monuments as physical and aesthetic objects. presenting historical and artistic value In this context researchers have investigated the stylistic con. text in which monuments are erected with great emphasis on the visual dimension of monuments. describing in detail materials of construction size and colors Iconography has been broadly used to. identify the conventional symbols represented in monuments Other approaches have called for a. more interpretative understanding of monuments using iconology to explore the intrinsic mean. ings that reveal the basic attitude of a nation a period a class a religious or philosophical persua. sion Panofsky 1955 38, Sociological and anthropological literature has mainly focused on the commemorative functions. of monuments drawing attention to the practices of commemoration of the users In this context. monuments have been considered as built forms erected to commemorate the events and the indi. viduals that are significant for a group or for a community Alois Riegl has explained that commemo. ration has been the traditional function of monuments since their origins. A monument in its oldest and most original sense is a human creation erected for the. specific purpose of keeping single human deeds or events alive in the mind of future. generations Riegl 1903 117, Riegl has also outlined the criteria that governments should consider when approaching the. preservation of monuments In his opinion monuments should be preserved when they present a. combination of artistic and historical values Similarly Roger W Caves has shown that the preserva. tion of monuments depends on both artistic values and commemorative functions He has stated. that a monument is, A construction or an edifice filled with cultural historical and artistic values The conserva. tion and maintenance of monuments is justified by those values Historically the idea of the. monument is closely tied to commemoration of a victory a ruling a new law In the urban. space monuments have become parts of the city landscape spatial points of reference or. elements founding the identity of a place Monuments can be enriched by educational and. political functions as well as artistic ones and those centered on commemoration Caves. Geographers have used a different approach that considers the commemorative functions of. monuments as essentially political Since David Harvey 1979 analyzed the political controversy. over the building of the Sacr Coeur Basilica in Paris broad and diverse research within human and. cultural geography has considered monuments as tools in the hand of those in power to promote. specific historical narratives and dominant worldviews Hershkovitz 1993 Johnson 1995 Osborne. 1998 Atkinson Cosgrove 1998 Whelan 2002 Hay et al 2004 Benton Short 2006 This research. has broadly investigated how monuments can create selective historical narratives In doing so some. geographers have considered monuments as sites of memory Nora 1996 XVII i e material sym. bolic and functional sites able to frame and shape the content of what is remembered Kattago. 2015 7 Since memory is the basis for any identity building geographers have highlighted the role. of monuments in defining collective and national identity In this context they have investigated how. political elites use monument to shape and reinforce sentiments of national distinctiveness and unity. Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983 Anderson 1983, F Bellentani M Panico 31.
The aim of this geographical research has been to unveil the dominant discourses embodied in. monuments what history ethnicity gender and nationality have been represented in monuments. and what have been obscured or obliterated Is this oblivion deliberately planned so as to create a. dominant landscape of remembrance Johnson 1995 56, The geographical study of monuments has broadly grounded itself on the rigid opposition be. tween designers and users Some geographers have considered the interpretations of users as spon. taneous reactions to the more prominent meanings of political elites Accordingly they have assumed. that dominant cultures had more power to convey their worldviews in space Cosgrove 1989 127. Other geographers have considered monuments as potentially supporting every possible inter. pretation beyond designers intentions In this case alternative cultures Cosgrove 1989 131 in. terpret monuments in ways that are different or even contrary to the uses to which their builders or. owners intended they be put Hershkovitz 1993 397 Specifically this approach has focused on. contentious political circumstances in which oppositional and resistant movements appropriate. monuments and transform them into symbolic forms which take on new meanings and signifi. cance Cosgrove and Jackson 1987 98 99, Although the distinction between designer and user can be a useful analytical tool we argue that. designers and users equally contribute to the creation and development of the meaning of mon. uments Following proposals in semiotics of text the next section proposes to overcome the rigid. division between designers and users, 3 The interpretation of monuments between designers and users. While reviewing contemporary theories of interpretation in the literary domain Umberto Eco. 1986 explains that research in textual interpretation has been polarized between those assuming. that texts can be interpreted only according to the intentions of the authors and those considering. text as supporting multiple interpretations Later Eco 1990a 1992 suggests that interpretation lies. in an intermediate position between these two poles i e between the authors and readers inten. This view overcomes the idea that appropriate interpretations occur only when texts are in. terpreted according to the intentions of the authors Nevertheless it takes into account that several. strategies are available to the authors to control readers interpretations Eco groups together these. strategies under the terms Model Reader Eco 1979 7 11 According to this model authors si. multaneously presuppose and construct their readership making assumptions about its social back. ground education cultural traits tastes and needs As a consequence texts always refer to specif. ic readerships anticipating certain interpretations while resisting others Eco 1979 7 11 Lotman. Although authors seek to control users interpretations texts do not function as mere com. municative apparatuses directly imprinting meanings to readers Eco 1986 25 Instead texts are. aesthetic productions always leaving something unexplained. Every text after all is a lazy machine asking the reader to do some of its work What a. problem it would be if a text were to say everything the receiver is to understand it would. never end Eco 1994 3, As aesthetic productions texts become the loci where both authors and readers continuously. negotiate their interpretations on the one hand authors seek to control readers interpretations. on the other hand readers interpret texts according to their needs Yet certain constraints limit the. range of interpretations that texts may elicit, 32 The meanings of monuments and memorials toward a semiotic approach.
To say that interpretation as the basic feature of semiosis is potentially unlimited does not. mean that interpretation has no object and that it riverruns merely for its own sake To say. that a text has potentially no end does not mean that every act of interpretation can have. a happy end Eco 1990b 143, Hence the issue on the limits of interpretations can be overcome exploring the complex interac. tions between authors readers and texts themselves As Yanow states. meaning resides not in any one of these not exclusively in the author s intent in the. text itself or in the reader alone but is rather created actively in interactions among all. three in the writing and in the reading Yanow 2000 17. Similarly built environment as text anticipates a set of interpretations and uses while resisting. others Designers use several spatial strategies to create interpretative habits and pull users along a. specific understanding of built environment Paraphrasing Eco s Model Reader Marrone 2009 2010. 2013 calls Model Users those users that conform to these interpretative habits and use built envi. ronment according to the designers intentions, In an essay about architecture Eco 1997 argues that through specific design choices designers. can persuade users to interpret architecture the way they wish Hence architecture itself gives in. structions on its appropriate use, Architectural discourse is psychologically persuasive with a gentle hand even if one is not. aware of this as a form of manipulation one is prompted to follow the instructions im. plicit in the architectural message functions are not only signified but also promoted and. induced Eco 1997 196, However designers can never fully predetermine the interpretation of the built environment. The meanings of monuments and memorials toward a semiotic approach Federico Bellentani and Mario Panico This paper aims at delineating the basic principles for a semiotic approach to monuments and me morials Monuments are built forms erected to confer dominant meanings on space They present an aesthetic value as well as a political function Often political elites erect monuments to

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