A reasoned history of AISE

Prof. Pierre Pellegrino, PhD, Honorary President

This history is written to present, to those who do not know it very little, and to remind those who have frequented it, what is our International Association of Semiotics of Space, and Time.

.....Since the second half of the twentieth century, research on the semiotics of space has developed from several points of view and in several directions. In particular, this research began around the time when, in the 1970s, we had, in Geneva, under the auspices of Professors Martin Krampen and Luis Prieto, held several research seminars inviting foreign colleagues to present their work, including Umberto Eco, and discuss a possible semiotics of architecture.

.....Also an association, the International Association of Space Semiotics, AISE, was created in 1974, in Urbino, at the invitation of Professor Paioni. Since that date, work has been periodically resumed and discussed in this association by those who have gathered there; at first around Geoffrey Broadbent, Omar Calabrese, Paolo Fabbri, Manar Hammad, Martin Krampen, then around Pierre Boudon, Alexandre Ph. Lagopoulos, Albert Levy, Sylvia Ostrowetsky, Josep Muntañola, Pierre Pellegrino, and Irena Sakellaridou.

.....This research has given rise to several congresses and symposia, including, in a fundamental way, the most important have given rise to general publications: Andros 1985 under the direction of Martin Krampen, Alexandre Lagopoulos and Donald Preziosi, which gave rise a special issue of Espaces et Sociétés, edited by Sylvia Ostrowetsky and Pierre Pellegrino, on the theme Space and Semiotics; then the congress we organized in Geneva in 1991 bringing together contributions such as Massimo Bonfantini, Jacques Geninasca, Jen-Blaise Grize, Lorenza Mondada, Luis Prieto and Thomas Sebeok, in particular, published by Anthropos, Paris, under the title Architectural Figures, Urban Forms.

.....This research were subsequently published in several scientific collections and reference journals, notably by Semiotica, under the direction of Thomas Sebeok, then Marcel Danesi, or, for example, by thejournal Cruzeiro Semiotico, the review Communications, the journal Degrés, the Semiotic Web, or the Zeitschrift für Semiotik.

.....Those who are or have been members of AISE, and those who have contributed to its works, especially in joint research or in joint congresses organized with other associations on the theme of semiotic of space, are for some philosophers, linguists, or specialists in the sciences of communication, but also architects or geographers, sociologists or anthropologists, historians or archaeologists, psychologists or advocates of cognitive science , computer scientists and mathematicians. One can draw a picture of excellence and quote here, with those already mentioned above, among others: 

 

.....Abdel Malek Aarouf, Roman Abramov, Georges Albert, Tatiana Andreadou, Arsen Arakelyan, Bassem Ariguib, Madeleine Arnold, Julia Arutyunyan, Carlos I. Pérez Avendaño, Guadalupe Milián Avila, Dalia Ruiz Avilas, Antoine Bailly, Alexandre A. Barabanov, Ye. A. Barabanova, Juan Antonio Barcelò, Justin Ion Barobcea, Ema Bchir, Federico Bellentani, Ana Goutman Bender, Leïla Ben Dridi, Abdelkader Bensaci, Kamil Bernacki, Uwe Bernhardt, Anne-Claude Berthoud, Denis Bertrand, Augustin Berque, Daniel Bérubé, Alexey A. Bespalov, Irene Bierman, Jean-Claude Bignon, Börries Blanke, Karin Boklund-Lagopoulou, Massimo Bonfantini, Jean Samuel Bordreuil, Marie-Jeane Borel, Marc Borillo, Julia Beltran Borràs, Claudio Borsari, Mario Botta, Philippe Boudon, Pierre Boudon, Paul Bouissac, Heddya Boulkroune, Kenza Boussora, Geoffrey Broadbent, N. I. Bugayeva, Jose Luis Caivano, Omar Calabrese, Claude Calame, Amira Cano, Jacob Nañuelos Capistràn, Marie Carani, Edgar Mòran Carreon, Francesca Caruana, Magda Saura Carulla, José Romera Castillo, Claude Castella, Fida Chaabane, Marta Susana Chitarroni, Françoise Choay, Boris Chuchkovitch, Stéphane Cirilli, Claudio Conenna, Marie-Pacale Corcuff, Michel Costantini, Daniel Coray, Lorenzo Covadonga, Aura Cruz Aburto, Macel Danesi, Christian Dehaynin, Susana Deiana, André Del, Gérard Deledalle, Gaëtan Desmarais, Catherine Deshayes, Verónica E. Dévalle, João Dias das Neves, Theodorios Didaskalou, Ali Djerbi, Luis Angel Dominguez, Claus Dreyer, Nassima Driss, Jean Guillermo Droguett, Martin Drouin, Bernard Duprat, Umberto Eco, Nold Egenter, Ricardo Espinosa, Moises Espirito Santo, Isabelle Excoffier, Paolo Fabbri, Gilles Falquet, Mrad Fares, Priscila Faria, Jean-Marie Floch, Jacques Fontanille, Pierre Frankhauser, Jaum Franquesa i Bartolomé, Marco Frascari, Michel Fuchs, Caterina Gaggero, Marco Gehring, Jacques Geninasca, Armen Godel, Josué Nathan Martínez Gómez, Marc Gottdiener, Jean-Pierre Goulette, Leonid L. Gourevitch, Pia Granzotto, Algirdas Julien Greimas, Jelena Grigorjeva, Jean-Blaise Grize, Ralitza Gueleva-Tzvetkov, Claudio F. Guerri, María del Rosario Giunta, Inre Grazuleviciute-Vileniske, Jacques Guillerme, Luice Guillemette, Maria Teresa Trejo Guzmán, Gabòr Hajnòczi, Manar Hammad, Toufik Hammoudi, Suzane Hauser, Christian Heath, Louis Hébert, André Helbo, Jorge Ferrada Herrera, Michael Herzfeld, Bill Hillier, Murielle Hladik, Graciela Hornia, Charles Hussy, Irina A. Ignatieva, Ulku Incekose, Valeri I. Iovlev, Terhi-M.Itkonen, Velinov Ivo Ivanov, Anna Ivanovna, Frédéric Jacot Guillarmod, Emmanuelle P. Jeanneret, Carolina Jiménez M, Alfredo T. Cid Jurado, Christo Kaftandjiev, Nadia Kajjou, Nikos Kalogirou, Vladimik Kalutskov, Mathieu Koehl, L. P. Kholodova, Karen Klaue, Ekaterina V. Koneva, Alina Kozhevnikova, Martin Krampen, Nathalia Kunitskaya, Alexandre Ph. Lagopoulos, Cédric Lambert, Bernard Lamizet, Jean-Marc Lamunière, Micael Landzelius, Gavrilina Larisa, Svend Erik Larsen, Olga Lavrenova, Chantal Lecas, Raymond Ledrut, Hervé Lequay, Laurent M. Lescop, Anthony Leone, Yulia Leonova, Dimitry A. Leontiev, Albert Lévy, Sofia S. Liakhovetskaia, Caterina Virdis Limentani, Augusto Mesquitela Lima, Alfredo Linares, Shelagh Lindsey, Petruta Lipan, Pierre Litzler, Alexandre Liusyi, Ricardo Espinoza Lolas, Gisela López A., Pasquale Lovero, Setah M. Low, Sasha Lozanova, Jean-Claude Ludi, Wolfgang Luutz, Sven Mac Govern, Vadim Makharenko, Svetlana Makhlina, Oxana Makhneva, Katia Mandoki, Solomon Marcus, Dobrina Zheleva Martins, Isabel Marcos, Philippe Marin, Laura Adriana Hernández Martínez, Petros Martinidis, Jean-Pierre Martinon, Gianfranco Marrone, Kuklina Marvara, Saïd Mazouz, Marga van Mechelen, Lucio Melazzo, D. L. Melodinsky, Feriel Mezghani, Olfa Meziou Baccour, Ivan Mitim, Jorge Tarrago Mingo, Philippe Minguet, Serguey Mityagin, G. Ya. Mokeev, Hans-Georg Möller, Lorenza Mondada, Daniel Montello, Clément Morier, Milena Morzorova, Tatiana Morozova, Gianfranco Motta, Charazed Moussanev, Josep Muntañola Thornberg, Jose Maria Nadal, Emmanuel Nanchen, Françoise Navez-Bouchanine, Michel Nicolas, Ana Claudia Mei Alves de Oliveira, Zeynep Onur, Sylvia Ostrowetsky,Ioulia V. Oudalova, Bernard Pagand, Pino Paioni, Bohumil Palek, Mario Panico, Jean-Claude Passeron, Françoise Paul-Levy, Pierre Pellegrino, Mirko Petric, Susan Petrilli, Vladimir M. Petrov, Isabella Pezzini, Olympio Pinheiro, Claudio Pirillo, Antonia Pizzigoni, Paola Poblete M., Stanislav Podusenko, Mariam Pogoshian, Svetlana Polyakova, Valentin Popov, Lozka Popova, Luis Jorge Prieto, Andrei Ptitsyn, Ana Celina Puebla, Maxime Putchkov, João Queiroz, Richard Quincerot, Andrew William Quinn, Andrei A. Raevski, Claude Raffestin, Anti Randviir, Placide Rambaud, Rosa María Ravera Eva Rewers, Jean Remy, Alain Renier, Alex Retejum, Gustavo Ribeiro, Doris Pachano Rivera, Nicolás Rosa, A. J. Rudakov, Sylvia Schwer, Serguey Rogachev, Anush Sahakyan, Irena Sakellaridou, Nora Elena Mesa Sanchez, Pascal Sanson, Pierre Sansot, Elizabeth Saporiti, Virve Sarapik, Thomas A. Sebeok, Lisel Seeligmann, Marion Segaud, Tayeb Sehad, Farouk Y. Seif, Andrey Sergueev, Vera Serkova, Krishnendra Shekhawat, Lúcia Santaella, Paulo Da Silva Santos, Filomena Silvano, Rodrigo Cortes Solano, Mohamed Abdel Souami, Vittorio Spigai, Constantin Spiridonidis, Frederik Stjernfelt, Iwao Takahashi, Frédérique Tanguy, Leonid Tchertov, Stephan-Immanuel Teichgraber, Kostas Terzidis, Nikolaos-Ion Terzoglou, Luciano Testa, Rem Tiit, François Tran, Kyriaki Tsoukala, Jean Umiker-Sebeok, Vaiva Vaitkeviciute, Diana Varela, Dobrina Varzonovtsev, Dragana Vasilski, Elena A. Vassina, Rodrigo Saavedra Venegas, Jurga Vitkuviene, Alexandra Volegova, Ugo Volli, Mathieu Vonlanthen, Adrián Gimate Welsh, Alexander Wolodtschenko, Hector Manuel Cortez Yacila, Hichem Yacoub, Yu. S. Yankovskaya, Elena Yushkova, Rim Zaabar, Sarantis G. Zafiropoulos, Olga Zalavskaya, Kestutis Zaleckis, Dobrina Zheleva-Martins, Donna L. Zimmerman, Olga Zinovieva, Santos Zunzunegui, Ricardo Zuquete.

.....The list is impressive; but the International Association of Space Semiotics, and now also of Time, does not have the ambition to cover, let alone organize, all the fields of research worked on by semiotic studies. It is rather an open club, where periodically and variably have meetings where different researchers who have some significant results to present and share with some of those they consider to be their colleagues. With time and time, around a small group that evolved, the meetings have gathered different colleagues in scientific meetings oriented on the deepening and the discussion of the questions dealt with by each other.

.....The AISE meetings were organized for the majors in specific congresses, held successively and alternately under the chairmanship of Gérard Deledalle, Manar Hammad, Martin Krampen, Alexander Lagopoulos, Olga Lavrenova, Josep Muntañola Thornberg, Pino Paioni, Pierre Pellegrino, Alain Rénier, François Tran. These meetings were firstly at Urbino in 1981, in a foundational way, on the semiotics of space, in Palermo in 1984, on semiotics theories and practices, then Andros 1985, on, Space and semiotics, from building to city and its region; then to Urbino in 1998, on Space in the picture and in the text. Then into the general theme of Signs of humanity, on semiotics of space, in Barcelona and Perpignan, in 1989; in Berlin, in 1992, on Semiotics, aesthetics and meaning of space; at Berkeley in 1994, on Synthesis in diversity: Space and representation of space, semiotics and semiotic of architecture; in St. Petersburg, 1995, on Man and the city: Spaces, forms and substances; in Geneva, in 1996, on Architectural figure and urban form, epistemological articulations between architectonic and semiotic; in Guadajaja, in 1997, on Semiotics between nature and culture; in 1997, in Thessalonica, on Semiotics and culture; in 1998 in Urbino, on Space in the Image and in the Text; in Dresden in 1999, on Sign processes and complex systems; in Barcelona, in 2000, on The future of the architect, architecture, semiotics and human sciences; in Carthage, 2001, Intersemioticity of the architectural space, in its being, its appearance and its fiction; in Lyon, in 2003, on The architectural project; in Barcelona 2004, on The Architecture of the In-Difference; in Strasbourg, in 2004, on The Forms of heritage; in Helsinki, 2007, on Space and time of the project in the making of the contemporary world, its complexity, its ambiguities, its contradictions; and more recently at Kaunas, 2017, on Semiotics and theory of form: forms of perception, forms of memory and forms of invention; in Moscow, in 2018, on Heterotopy and cultural landscapes; in 2019, in Yerevan, on Being and appearing, permanence and transformation of space in time: theater and performance; Finally, in Buenos Aires, in the framework of the Congress of the IASS, 2019, it will have several papers that will deal with Trajectories of meaning in space and time, and a round table in tribute to Luis Jorge Prieto.

 

.....Other symposia were held jointly with those of other associations, notably on the initiative of the International Association of Visual Semiotics: in Blois, under the chairmanship of Michel Constantini, in 1990; in Bilbao, 1992 under the presidency of J.-M. Nadal and S. Zunzunegui, Semiotics and new technologies, style and visual identity, images and visual meaning; in Sao Paulo, in 1996, under the chairmanship of Ana Claudia Mei Alves de Oliveira, Semiotics of art, theorization, analysis and teaching, images, visuality, urbanity and intertextuality; in Quebec City in 2001, under the presidency of Mair Carani, Semiotics of space and architecture, modeling of architectural and urban space, visual and semiotic communication; or in Lisbon, under the chairmanship of Isabelle Marcos, in 2011, on Semiotics of space, spaces of semiotics, times, urbanization of time and de-urbanization of space.

.....External, but important, meetings were also held at the initiative of various institutes, notably at Alby, under the chairmanship of Alain Renier, in 1981, on Space, representation and semiotics of architecture; in San Marino, under the presidency of Ginafranco F. Marrone, in 2011, on The meaning of urban forms; and in Barcelona in 2014, under the direction of Juan Antonio Barcelò, on Artificial Intelligence, Cultural Heritage and Pattern Recognition. These open meetings have also seen researchers make essential contributions to the development of contemporary semiotics. In a brief summary of the work presented and discussions so held, I below sketch the outlines of some of the main contributions and advances that have been made in the field of the semiotics of space and time.

.....Summary of fields and topics

.....The 1984 Palermo Congress of the International Association for Semiotics Studies had the general theme of diversity in semiotic theories and practices, the consideration of history in the human and natural sciences. Present at this congress the founding members of our Association of Semiotic of Space have obtained a first recognition of the directions of the research they intended to develop. What was thus decisive from the outset for their work is this desire to maintain and develop this diversity, and not an alignment on one current of thought rather than another; sometimes, it is true, at the price of animated discussions, but precisely these made it possible to put face to face schools which elsewhere ignored themselves.

.....The following year, in 1985, in Thessaloniki, the Hellenic Society of Semiotics organized a symposium, which in fact dedicated our first works in the domains of space and space semiotics, crossing them in fields from building to the city and its region. This work had been previously carried out separately and from relevant points of view, from disciplines such as geography, architecture, literature or linguistics. It was then a question of finding places of passage which make it possible to clear the concepts advanced by the ones and the others and to trace prospects of future discussions of the advances of each one.

.....In Barcelona and Perpignan, in 1989, a new congress of the International Association for Semiotics Studies brings together our group of researchers. The congress had as title The man and his signs. He discussed new ways of communicating in today's world, new types of signs and transformations of cultures, values and the very meaning of the notion of culture. Each of the domains of knowledge required specific interpretations, based on models and concepts related to the respective disciplines; in fact, the new means of communication did not bring the same progress in each of the fields and in any case not at the same time.

.....Then our Association came together in Berlin in 1992, to prolong the debate by dealing more specifically with the structure and effect of artistic messages, the aesthetics and ecological significance of space, the definition of what can to be the very notion of space. The focus was what psychology of the form and psychology of the environment can bring about in this respect. It emerged from this debate that: For some, semiotics finds its genesis in the world of animals and plants, even before that of humans; for them semiotics is not only the study of communication, but also of the information that the environment gives to a plant, animal, or human organism; and this in a diachronic perspective.

For others, semiotics is strictly a human science, related to the intentionality of the subject and to the arbitrariety of the sign; they reject all causality out of the semiotic form that sense takes in the sign.

.....As for the very notion of space, it opposed: On the one hand those who consider that the homogeneous extension is first and that space comes to cut it out of its intervals and its limits. On the other hand, those who, on the contrary, pose discontinuity as first; given in the materiality of things, the distance between features of reality, when raised by the semiotic subject, is then measured as the dimension of a relevant composition. We can consider that in the first case an analytic space decomposes the material reality of things as they are independently of us; and in the second case a synthetic space composes an object whose material reality emerges, matter being composed in form. If space is the form that material reality takes for us, this form can be both the mode of its construction and of its deconstruction.

.....Aiming to take a position on these questions, not in the sense of an exclusive position, but in that of an inclusive position, the symposium sought to grasp the conditions of an all-encompassing and discriminating theory at one and the same time. Such a theory is necessary in any case for architecture, the object of which straddles that of the sciences of nature and that of the human sciences.

.....Again, at the 1994 conference of the International Association for Semiotics Studies at Berkley, the discussion focused on the possibilities of a synthesis in diversity, asserting as a postulate that openness and tolerance as themes inherent in the semiotic method suggests that differences serve to reinforce rather than divide; for a transversal discipline such as the one that semiotics intends to develop, this postulate is important, yet it is necessary to know how to base it not only on a group psychology, but in the very structuring of fields of research.

.....For our association, we were thus led to rediscuss then the very notion of space semiotics, and this as a priority by seeking to articulate semio-topic (topos) and semio-logic (logos) studies, especially from the generative point of view, focusing that about space and the representation of space in architecture.

.....In Saint Petersburg, in 1995, our Association held a congress on the heritage of Russian formalism and its contribution to the semiotics of space compared to that of Saussurian semiology. Pertinences and practices of the space inscribed in a semiosphere, space, space as representation of the social or space as place of individuation were the topics mainly addressed in the presentations. The object was man and city, and the form of unification of urban multiplicity. To discuss this object, the papers dealt with the forms and substances of the urban space, the perception of the space and the social space of the city, the drawing of the urban space, and also the writing space in the mythology of a city.

.....In Geneva, in our 1996 congress our Association took up the same object by emphasizing the relationship between architectural figures and urban forms, as well as between rhetoric and morphology, in an approach seeking to define a semiotic metalanguage appropriate to the study of architectural and urban spaces; semiotics being a metalanguage that takes as objects other languages, the discussion was then to grasp if and how architecture can be understood as a "language" of urban space, a code which, among others, in rule the practices of inhabitants as much as the practrices of edification. To answer these questions the main research presented in this congress has shown how to study the processes of signification and to understand the forms according to which the meaning of the city occurs in different "languages"; to this end, it was in particular to grasp the part of the different codes in the production of meaning, their articulations and their shifts.

.....In Thessaloniki, in 1997, at the invitation of the Hellenic Society of Semiotics, we discussed the relationship between semiotics and culture; the aim of the symposium was to discuss a comprehensive understanding of the place of contemporary semiotics, particularly in the face of advances in developing sciences, often in redefinition. Disciplinary boundaries were discussed and the movement between natural and human sciences, the theoretical, descriptive and applied sciences, among various interdisciplinary approaches, between the sciences, arts and religions understood as complementary human activities, was examined.

.....This debate prepared the conference of the International Association of Semiotics Studies in 1997, in Guadalajaja, questioning the relationship between nature and culture. Several currents of thought have brot new light, questioning the relationship between nature and culture. This have raised the question of a new division of the areas of competence. New sciences, such as the sciences of design and the sciences of the artificial, implicate not only the cut that was instituted, from the nineteenth century, between the sciences of the nature and the human sciences, but also the sharing of tasks between the theoretical and the applied sciences. Semiotics does not escape this redefinition; moreover, as its epistemological ambition is to inscribe the codification of the world of phenomena into meaningful processes, it places its contribution in the field of different knowledge understood as the ability to grasp an object as an occurrence of a general type.

.....It was also a question of wondering about the passage from the aisthesis of the sensible world to the calculation of the rational world, about the place of nonverbal codes in the knowledge of material reality, as well as on the space and the context of the semiotic function. Space, as a limit and as a principle, instituted as a model, makes it possible to recognize a context of phenomena. Extent is the substance that once informed and transformed by man becomes space, a form that can signify because of his articulations. Context intervenes in the very economy of verbal communication; by recognizing it as a fragment of material reality, by determining it by spatial limits, we recognize a digital identity to an object. Space is the condition of the multiple.

.....The thesis that we have developed for what concerns us developed is that the semiotics of space is at the very foundation of all semiotics, since separation, the basis of all space, precedes order, the basis of all argument; and the composition, unification of the diverse, pre-exists to the inference, calculation on the multiple. The semiotic process taking place in a space is a passage, a staggering and a tension etween nature and culture; but it is also a mediation. Space is then conceived as a frame and recovery of reality. This thesis places the space of semiotics between culture and nature as well as between form and substance. This being so, in space, the investment relation (from content into container) is coupled with an exclusion relation (from inside of outside). It is therefore necessary to discuss the hypothesis that the exclusion of nature, the lost body, moves contemporary spatiality from meaning to nonsense.

.....In Urbino, in 1998, we have more specifically dealt with the relationships between semiotics of space, semiotics of images and semiotics of literary texts. It was thus to present different theses developed in semiotics on the relations between topos and logos. On the one hand, it was to present different theses developed in semiotics on the relationships between choros or topos and logos or muthos, to discuss the structuring of spatial relations in natural languages and to understand how space works in discourse, how it is a place of assumption and distancing of the narrator; we sought to understand the ways in which reference spaces measure object spaces by serving as instruments for spaces of enunciation and how the structure of natural languages provides for it. The ways in which the spatialization of language and the verbalization of space refer to each other have been discussed in particular in the ways in which antecedents and consequent articulate themselves with spatial configurations and find surfaces of exhibition in allusion spaces.

.....On the other hand, it was important to understand how iconic utterances oppose or articulate with textual statements and how the space of the text can be exposed in figures that put it on the stage and make an image; or how the course of the text can be exposed and condensed in an image. Terms of the representation of space specific to text and image have been discussed, and an attempt has been made to understand how visualizing a meaning is not reduced to manifesting it in a text. This was to discuss recent work on the icon and to show how the semiotics of the image can not be reduced to a semiotics of the objects of speech.

.....In Dresden, in 1999, we organized several space semiotics sessions at the Congress of the International Association for Semiotics Studies. Because of their complexity, the semiotic systems, objects of the congress, contain tensions that do not always make sense. Enrolled in a semiotic process, they can be envisioned in many ways; but the production of meaning is all the more difficult to grasp because the complexity is great. Complexity is opposed to the economy. Systems that make it possible to communicate a complex meaning carry a power of reduction. Invented during the genesis of societies, animal or human, the forms of semiosis are not lacking that allowed to articulate the produced sense without reducing excessively its complexity. For any organism, reducing the complexity of the surrounding facts is a condition of survival. Every organism has a model of its environment. The ability to receive information depends on the ability to process information material.

For the human being, an evolved organism, the semiotic process is complex because the meaning does not occur unambiguously and is not revealed without interpretation. The human being develops models of the environment and rules of behavior that allow him to prevent the unexpected.

     The cultural multiplicity and the gap that is imposed between traditional, classical and modern or contemporary cultures, the (enormous) impact of the media and the computer science, make that the comprehension of the texts and the images on the space is of less and less reliable. The space is more and more virtual, artifact allowing the manipulation of unreal objects. One can even imagine that one day one will arrive at a society without space, or at least in which texts and images will no longer have real (or only religious or mythical) relations with everyday life. In this congress, therefore, questions have been asked about the transformations of space that place it in an abyss, how texts and images of space participate in a rhetorical and political process in which, dependent on a media power, the culture is transformed into an industrial reproduction of same objects in series, production of series programmed on abstract networks, without textual cooperation of the spectator, nor even of the actor.

.....In Barcelona, in 2000, at the invitation of the Association of Catalan Architects, we had a symposium organized around the relationship between architecture, semiotics and human sciences; the presentations were on the topic of architectural design in the field of topogenesis. Two main issues were examined. Firstly, the relationship between semiotics, architecture and design strategies in architects' practice. Secondly, the implications of semiotics of architecture in the education of architects. To answer the first question, one wondered whether and to what extent is a semiotic process in architecture; to answer it, the speakers discussed different approaches to the architectural project process. As for the second question, to understand what one can teach architect, one wondered how to teach architecture can be an interactive semiotic process.

.....In Quebec, also in 2000, at the invitation of the International Association of Visual Semiotics, taking a look at the complexity of economics, considering it in a systemic interactivity, was held a symposium on the semiotics of architecture and on the articulation of its visual, gestural and conceptual dimensions. Several papers have dealt with the semiotics of the visible conformations of architecture and their possible relations to the visualizable configurations of living. Insofar as the semiotics of space can be part of a semiotics of action, the questions have been those of the importance of the image as an instrument of figuration in social practices, the status of figuration and the presence of the subjectin the figurative utterance. The symposium also questioned the non-figurative image and the conceptualization of space; he showed how the semiotics of his composition is not the semiotics of the verbalization of the image, its commentary or its description. He also examined how the space of objects in the natural world is not reducible to the space of the image, how nature opposes artifice.

.....In Carthage, in 2001, on the theme of the intersemioticity of the architectural space, in its being, its appearing and its fiction, we resumed the discussion on the complexity of the meaning and practices of space. In the terms proposed by the conference organizers, there are many points of view on architectural space. First of all one can consider that this one does not have for limit only the solid of englobement of the places which compose it. It is not reduced to the physical conformation of the building, even if this one can be apprehended, with just reason, by a plastic semiotics or a planar semiotics, or even by a visual semiotics.

.....Various particular approaches of the "local semiotics" of the built space (so called by difference with what could be a "global semiotics" of architecture) are based on the plans drawn up of the buildings or on any other system of graphic representation or iconic, in real or virtual mode. The formal evidence of architectural drawings makes it possible to construct a semiotics of physical conformations built or simply anticipated, where spatial marks are from the outset privileged face to temporal markings and even more actantial.

.....But the semiotics of space can also deal with the physical and social complexity by examining the praxeological and proxemic relations maintained by the social actors with the built space but also with the places that constitute it, the internal environment that it encompasses and the external one that surrounds it. In these conditions of existence of a socialized space, a semiotics of the life configurations, which are inscribed in the biomatic components of the physical environment and anchored (better still "engrammées", because they belong to a grammar), deal with the material conformation of the built space. This semiotics simultaneously taking care of time, space and action, is thus situated on the borders of the visible and the invisible. This invisible can accede to the evidence and take shape in the differentiated representations of semiotic configurations, detectable in the conformation of built space, whether these are of a pragmatic or symbolic order.

.....The colloquium sought to understand how these considerations about architectural space and local semiotics combine to attempt to constitute a global semiotics of architecture. He wondered whether the intersemioticity of the components of architectural space, to its various degrees, can be reduced to an intra-semioticity specific to the architectural space, assumed by the syncretic character of the global semiotics of architecture. This syncretic semiotics, should be the place of a possible articulation with the semiotic approaches of other disciplines, concerned in various respects by the architectural space, if not in its being, at least in its appearance, even in its fiction.

 

.....In Barcelona 2004, at the invitation of the International Architecture 3000  Congress, we held a symposium on the architecture of the in-difference. To deal with indifference, our interventions have showed that we must also deal with difference, inference and reference, which are in a way the tools of architectural design. First of all, from a semiotic point of view, in terms of difference, one can ask the question of architectural work as a simulacrum or ideal object. What relationship can there be in architecture between reality and virtuality, or between realized and virtual objects? When dealing with difference, inference or reference, what is the relationship to virtual reality? Is it a report of the order of those that can existbetween form and substance? Are the differences in reality? Or are the differences in knowledge itself? Are discontinuities in material reality as differences? How these discontinuities can be the result of the architectural act?

As for the notion of "indifference", semiotics allows us to understand it with its double meaning: "indifference" in the first sense of non-difference and "indifference" in the sense of non-interest for (we have, in French , the two notions that are understood under the same term). Someone who is indifferent, that is to say who is not interested in something that is happening, thinks that this thing does not bring any difference; not interest then corresponding to the idea that there is no difference that may be relevant to him; if I take this first meaning of the difference, it is as being in the reality of the phenomenon. And in terms of today's architecture, what does it mean to be different, to be a recognized artist, different from others, or, paradoxically, to be indifferent and to produce a banal architecture? 

But in architecture, to deal with difference and non-difference, we also use "references". From the semiotic point of view, the reference can be defined as the connection between two conceptions, in act and virtual, two representations of the world, two ideas, two ways of retaining certain traits in reality. So the connection here is a relationship that plays on the presence and absence, that is to say that the architect is drawing something and refers to something that is absent, which is not the drawing he is drawing. And so, he is doing an operation which is of the order of the paradigmatic in Saussurian semiology, and thus of working on associations of ideas between terms which he inscribes temporarily, not immediately in the same concept but rather in the same drawer, in the sense of natural logic (a logic involved in a production process). And then, he will gradually, perhaps, make this drawer a concept by finding an understanding to the fact that he put all a series of his drawings in the same drawer, that he put them at the same place of his conception.

And then, when he does this work, he is making what was called at a certain time, a model in architecture, an ideal object; but, here, the ideal object is in project. And so it is strange, in architecture we can use a model to make something, while this model does not exist yet. And precisely, it is because the architect works in this strange way where, in the beginning, they are idea associations to which he proceeds, then it will gradually become paradigmatic substitution operations in a composition with possible variants, in a system this time achieved there.

 

.....In 2007, in Helsinki, on the sidelines of the International Association for Semiotics Studies congress, to avoid dispersing ourselves in a multiplicity of poorly combined approaches, and reserving our work for the semiotic study of the project, our Association held a symposium on the space and time of the project in the fabrication of the contemporary world, its complexity, its ambiguities, its contradictions.

Space and time each have their own dialectic: that of the relation to the other acts in space, that of the relation to oneself in time. Their crossing produces a primordial articulation of the meaning of existence, as opposed to the other, here now, as opposed to elsewhere, formerly or in the future. This articulation is general, at the base of all semiotics. Communications have shown how this articulation is supported in areas such as those of architecture, literature or the arts, how its manifestation in an artefact brings into play another articulation, that of being and appearing.

.....Rather than trying to balance the relations between parties and everything, contemporary architecture has sought to grasp the power of reduction of the rules and models that generate them and how the whole is found schematized in the parts that compose it. Architecture and contemporary arts so have sought to dissociate space and time, to deconstruct the anchoring of space over time, to reconstruct it outside the metaphysics of modernity as well as that of tradition.

.....To the purity of the completed forms it substituted the imperfection of the unfinished fragments, to the postulates of the functional formalism it responded by a hybrid conception of the order, to the simplicity of the geometrical figures it opposed the complexity of the interactions between codes and contexts . Thus, the gap between the proposals made by contemporary architects, especially in their relation to history, is not so much a result of a "misunderstanding" as of a work on the deconstruction of codes and languages, not only for to grasp universal formal principles, but also to understand how these principles can be part of the making of the places of our existence without undoing their meaning.

.....Faced with an era of globalization that may well reinforce the gap between territorial social formations, the meeting reaffirmed the universality of artistic and scientific thought. In our view, today, it is not a question of reproducing cuts between national and international normative trends and grammars, but of grasping in what and how the different space projects and the frames of reference, the spaces and the time that they respect, whether or not, they are part of a structure that is generative of a new universality.

.....In general, our Association has therefore wanted to integrate in its objectives the semiotic of time, by articulating it with that of space. It has thus added time to its denomination and since then bears the title of International Association of Semiotics of Space and Time (AISE + T).

     

.....In Lisbon, in 2011, at the invitation of the International Association of Visual Semiotics, we dealt with the urbanization of time and the de-urbanization of space. The urbanization of space involves the movement and acceleration of travel speeds. It is in space that the report of two states of movement, preceding and subsequent, makes it possible to grasp the speed. To measure their speed, the displacements are related to the locations: it is the space traveled by each one from one moment to another which is the relative measure of the movements. Space is then measurer and time measured; the ratio of measurer to measured is the first semiotic articulation of space and time. Thus, in urbanization space and time are intrinsically linked, but their articulation can be of various forms according to the value systems in which they take on meaning. Studying the articulation of space and time, semiotics questions systems of values, their permanence and their transformations.

.....Faced with the disproportion of globalization (scale changes, virtual objects, complex spaces and times of uncertainty), the opposition between the acceleration of contemporary historical transformations and the desire for sustainable development (change in the relationship between the immediate and the deferred) invites us to question the relationship between the time of rupture and that of long duration. We have asked ourselves whether these relations are to be inscribed in the succession of epochs or, on the contrary, are they superimposed, interfering with each other, or

giving meaning to one another? In this apparently globalized space of the contemporary era, is the event historical, the symptom of a profound change of structure, from one era to another, or is it a superficial figurative act expressed in an event that is certainly urban but derealized?

.....In a general way, the question is to know if and when the different human temporalities are connected according to a causal adequation, escaping the free will, or, on the contrary, can be articulated in an adequacy as to the meaning escaping any global determination.

 

.....In Kaunas, in 2017, joint to the scientific work and meetings of the International Association for Semiotics Studies, we organized a session on semiotics and the theory of forms: forms of perception, forms of memory, forms of invention. 

.....The session first paid tribute to our colleague, the first president of our Association, Professor Martin Krampen who died some months ago. Martin has been a professor at many universities, but first at Ulm's Hohschule für Gestaltung, heir to the Bauhaus and his universalist ambition. Behaviorist as well as artist, he worked on the articulation of the psychology of form with a general semiotics that developed beyond the field of linguistics alone; contributing to the construction of a semiotics of space, he not only explored and formalized, in an innovative and methodical way, the processes of industrial design and architectural project, but also insisted that their be studied joint to dimensions animal and vegetable species of the semiosphere.

.....Based on this perspective, the session that we held in this semiotic "cross - inter - multi - trans" congress was part of the framework set by the IASS for its own Kaunas 2017 symposium. Different works by the authors who proposed a presentation dealt with semiotic forms related to formation processes and scales of distinct relevance in the production and practice of human space. The first part of the session focused on the perception, proprioception and exteroception of spatial forms, from the early forms of aisthesis to the advanced forms of the culture of body space and its environment, their figuration, their description and their narration. The second part, focused on the sense of space as resulting from a project, a modeling as well as an intention to make sense, it had approached on this subject not only the forms and processes inherited from the past of the architectural project, but also from contemporary forms and processes, developed with new media implementing artificial intelligence, parameterizable geometry, logic and computational reasoning.

The third part gathered the results of the first two to aim at integrating them into researches dealing with emerging forms in the long history of the formation of cities and territories, and also in the space of contemporary globalization with forms whose meaning can escape the perception that actors have of the scene of their daily life, for a time at least; to try to find how their meaning develops and to restore the complexity of the emergent forms, the session questioned their importance in the semiosis of contemporary space.

.....In Moscow, in 2018, at the invitation of the Russian Academy of Arts, we organized a symposium on heterotopia and semiotics of cultural landscapes. A cultural landscape is part of a semiosphere, the result and catalyst of the processes of cultural genesis and semiosis leaving traces in space in the form of material objects, systems of images, metaphors and signs . The cultural landscape is organized according to semiotic modeling codes of culture and thus becomes the curator and producer of cognitive codes. The discourse of space in culture (in the broadest sense, from a place to a cosmos) is expressed in cultural landscapes. The landscape can be structured by meanings distributed in space and its reading being a movement from one point to another, from one direction to the other.

According to many interpretations, it is a structure, that is to say, the natural landscape is considered as a substratum on the basis of which the economic, social, cultural and eidetic spaces are constructed. The complete set of meanings and symbols, the saturation of a "packed" time (transitivity and dynamism), timelessness and eternity, the sacred and transcendent meanings, give the cultural landscape the properties of semantic flow, transformation of symbols and signs; its movements in space occur because of the evolution of temporal values and the realities of culture.

.....Cultural landscapes provide scales for emerging values in space, where the objects and geographical areas give analogies to current social and cultural status, as well as commemorative marks in cultural heritage. In this process, all the emergent places are heterotopias, they are distinguished by an otherness of the meanings, in the architectural design they are conceived as unique.

.....Presentations at this symposium addressed the virtual space of electronic media in an approach of the heterotopy of our technological environment, governed by its own spatial logic while ensuring a seamless interface with the material extent and social existence. This interfacing is a hybrid space that is all the more demanding because most of the basic references structuring the physical and cultural space do not apply to the virtual space.

.....The discussions focused on the heterotopic processes of semiosis in the landscape, heterotopy as a place of cultural concentration of otherness, the visualization (demarcation) of otherness in the landscape, the places of memory and timelessness, architecture as a factor of formation of sense of place, the visual and virtual images of landscapes, the new hybrid spaces.

     At this conference, we examined cultural landscape issues as a symbolic system, heterotopies as emerging marks in the context of this system, and the problems of the visual representation of these signs and systems in the context of art and architecture.

     

.....In Yerevan in 2019, we dealt with the being and the appearance, the permanence and the transformation of space in time under the action of the performance. Performance is a fact of culture that correlates being with appearance, reflecting the permanence and transformation of being in permanence and transformation of space and time. In the field of art, this works by translating social practices into gaming mechanisms. Performance produces an open type of text and intertext, whose structure is formed in a synthesis of different types of practices and in the extension of the boundaries of a particular art form. Its structural units - synthetic units of different texts - can be combined into an integral sign or exist separately and also because of their different symbolic nature. The double nature of performance determines its textuality and physicality. Performance is a "body writing" in the space of modern culture.

.....Because of the performance, the meanings of the spaces can pulsate in time. The static meanings of the cultural landscape develop over a long historical period; but mabe suddenly, something happens (cultural change) which completely changes the semantics of places; in space, a rapid action sheds new light on the meaning of the place.

.....The event is associated with a particular model of perception and analysis of text-performance, inscribed in an aesthetic experience as a work of art; it is produced by a connection of conceptual and sensual components in space.

.....The verbal and plastic components of the text of the performance interact on the structural model of undivided artistic units, organic interpenetrations, autonomous coexistence of the works, polyphony of meanings.

.....Performance is so a form implemented by contemporary art in which a work is composed of the actions of an artist or a group in a given place and time.

.....The performance can have several levels: a conscious action of the artist in space (from classical theater to modern spaces of actions), shifts and historical fractures accompanying actions in space (demonstrations, deformation of historical monuments, etc.), actions in virtual space (laser and light shows, etc.), virtual actions in a real space, associated with specific real places and landscapes.

.....In this meeting, the participants considered performance as a means of changing meanings in the framework of sign systems, the problem of the visual representation of these signs in the art system.

.....The discussions focused on the processes of semiosis in performance spaces (landscape, architectural space, empty spaces of theater), the visualization (demarcation) of meanings in these spaces, the performance as a means of reformatting the meaning of the place, the places of memory and timelessness and their presentation in modern culture, the virtual images of places of action, architecture as a factor of formation of sense of place, theater as empty space open to the trajectories of meaning, spaces open spaces as appropriate spaces for artistic activities.

So, in a general way, for forty years, the contributions of the researchers in the various congresses, colloquia and other scientific meetings of our Association have answered questions of the meaning by treating them by linking to dimensions of the space and time:

.....• The subject of the enunciation, the constitution of the "self", the same and the other

in the space and time.

.....• The pragmatics, the adaptation of the structure to the context.

.....• The articulation of heterogeneous spatial codes, the gesture and the word, the word

and the image.

.....• The presupposition and nesting of signs in space and time, the icon, the symbol and

the index.

.....• Overlay and transformation of spatial structures, generative grammars and shape

grammars.

.....• Artistic creation and modes of inference, deduction, induction, abduction.

.....• The presence or absence of reference, the fiction and the virtuality of the object.

.....• Representation of self and representation of space.

.....• Intertextuality, dialogue and interpretation of space and time.

.....• The calibration and shift of a semiotic process on an existing structure.

.....• Space and frame, disjunction and conjunction, interior and exterior.

.....• The segmentation of time and the rhythm, the scene and the act.

.....The forthcoming meetings, symposia and congresses of Semiotics, within the ramework of AISE + T or in others, will most likely develop, some more than others, the perspectives that emerge from the recent work of researchers in the domain of the semiotics of space and time. In particular, the questions of unification as much as the opening of the discipline, the complexity as well as the economy of the models, the diachroncity as well as the synchronicity of the codes studied will be preponderant for the future of research in the domain. 

 

.....In the future, the researchers will organize their contributions as they already tend to do by the magic of the internet; they will thus, if only implicitly, answer directly each other in remarkable directions. Never the less it is possible to develop a core program, which will be further implemented and defined according to current thinking the basics, such as: space, place, form, function, structure, figure... One may include in that kind of program the development of a history of ideas, not just those from the legacy of language, but also ideas from other fields, such as those that have been developed by authors of reference in architecture, iconology, psychology and philosophy of art. Part of the research will present in a contrasted way what space is for different civilizations and societies. One will also find a field of research where the various contemporary formalizations will be elaborated and discussed: models, systems, concepts, specific to recognized currents. A set of works will more specifically deal with different objects and fields of research specific to practices, such as painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, theater, cinema, dance. Others will be open to interdisciplinarity, the interaction between semiology and disciplines such as sociology, psychology and zoology. The cognitive and neural sciences should enable the semiotics verify, correct and develop the description and explanation she gives of semiosis process of sensation from first reception until the full meaning of intellection of space and time. That kind of works will also show the contribution of semiology to other disciplines and the reformulations that emerge. 

.....This set of perspectives, which I trace here only to indicate benchmarks, offer only an architectonic metaphor for the work of researchers for decades to come. But after all architecture, can be understood as being only an immense metaphor; and an overview of the architecture of meaning, codes and languages can only be so, more or less.

P. P. 01.03.19

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