In response to semiotics and ideology, I’ve found an image that had complexity in it’s meaning to explore the notions of denotation and connotation, and how the two create interpretations. I’ve chosen this image:
Semiotics is a field of study that is interested in understanding signs and the way they are organised into the systems of meaning that give rise to communication in the variety of different contexts. The interpretation of a sign is dependent on the context in which it is used, its relationship to other signs, and its environment.
Roland Barthes identified structural relationships in the components of a sign. His ideas centre on two different levels of signification: denotation and connotation. Thus, denotation being the literal or primary meaning of a sign and connotation, meaning a sign acquires beyond its denotative meaning that results from the context in which it is applied.
At first there’s an obvious graphic and horrific response by the viewer that suggests “wow how unfortunate”. The denotation is that a giant light bulb has hit this individual fair in the head and assumingly killed him, or caused significant damage. We can lead to believe it’s fallen from the roof or even perhaps been used as a weapon, to which we then ponder what possible use would anyone have for a light of this scale? The connotation (Or what it means) is then open for interpretation. My first thought was the obvious, ouch, and then when I stopped and thought about it, it took me down a philosophical path of How our thoughts can be killing us. And then even further, How “overthinking” can kill us.
The light bulb is obviously big, which could allude some of the views to the notion of “Big ideas can get you killed”. The light has obviously came from above his position and planted from that trajectory, therefore justifying the “over” thinking. The thinking side of my interpretation comes from the sign of a light bulb conveying one’s idea or thought thus the picture below.
I typed into a “Google” search engine and an abundance of these images appeared. a common visual reference to thinking is indeed a light bulb. Thus, a lightbulb has connotations to thought or ideas but this is constructed and may not be the next persons first thought. So yes, I believe this above image does present possibilities to be read in more than one way because my opinion is based on my arbitrary interpretation of a light bulb as a sign. The next person to view this, might explore the fact of technology becoming too much, or simply that the roof wasn’t strong enough!
Therefore, we can create many connotations to an abundance of signs based on who we are and the context in which it’s being delivered. This can then be applied to media, and how they think about presenting content to their audiences, to evoke a response, both controversial and stereotypical.