Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Transcendental Chair

The Transcendental Chair poster series will be available shortly, primarily in A3 digital prints.
(Paper yet to be decided)

Polysemy of words in our vocabulary draws attention to the importance of context.

For example, the noun 'chair' changes upon the context of the conversation, i.e, 'Sally sits on the chair', or 'Sally is editorial chair of the newspaper'.

The first is a subject-object proposition, where Sally changes the state of the chair by sitting on it, whilst the second is a subject-predicate proposition, where the subject Sally is being described as something, as opposed to doing something directly. (Pinker, 109; 2006)

Polysemy aside, this linguistic nuance appears broadly in semiological interpretations of signs and signifiers.

For example, if we take the signifier 'chair', the sign of a physical chair appears in the minds' eye. (in my case a basic wooden chair) Yet by the definition of the individual's own experience, 'chair' implies a rule that all 'chairs' should follow this cognitive pattern, as in empiricism. The paradox lies within the definition.

Chair: "A separate seat for one person, typically with a back and four legs." So, by this definition, a chair has a specific purpose, thusly, for a person to sit on. However, take this paradox;

I can sit on my bed, my bed has four legs and a 'back', it is also designed for one person. Moreover, I can also fall asleep on a chair. So, my dilemma is, is my bed a chair, or my chair a bed?

There are no hard kernels under the semantic shells of 'things'. No object is truly 'in itself' and existent without interpretation, much like a photograph or painting. 'Things' are there simply to be interpreted. Only then do 'things' become 'things'.

To see the fifteen posters in the series so far, visit

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