Copy cat strategems, the blues of trading one tender mercy for a whole pack of signifying woes…
From “Rhetoric of the Image” Roland Barthes translated by Stephen Heath
The denoted word never refers to an essence for it is always caught up in the contingent utterance, a continuous syntagm (that of verbal discourse), oriented towards a certain practical transivity of language; the seme ‘plenty’, on the contrary, is a concept in a pure state, cut off from any syntagm, deprived of any context and corresponding to a sort of theatrical state of meaning, or, better (since it is a question of a sign without a syntagm), to an exposed meaning.
But is not every sign traversed or open to traversal and so connected to some sort of syntagm be it that of its own traversal? Can there ever be escape from contingency? Is such an escape necessary for exposure? Self-traversal complicates the easy slide from word:syntagm to sign:(no)syntagm.
Barthes is arguing for the priority of the cut, the operation of some analytic gesture, as precursor to metalanguage giving access to discourse about connotations.
Yet every self-traversal is like a Peano curve offering the tortoise another infinitesimal span to catch up within the “Structural Analysis of Narratives”.
Dystaxia occurs when the signs (of a message) are no longer simply juxtaposed […] This, as was seen in connection with the functional level, is exactly what happens in narrative: the units of a sequence, although forming a whole at the very level of that sequence, may be separated from one another by the insertion of units from other sequences — as was said, the structure of the functional level is fugued.
No words. Lots of signs. Images are open to dystaxia. The metadiscursive moment can be produced from segment pointing. Images can be hacked. Replication can carry image with comment as in the fine flight of circles and arrows from a layer added like a transparency. Consider: eye guided by finger or simply by memory and review.
Syntagm is close to speech (“it will not be forgotten that the syntagm is always very close to speech”) and image is far from speech and by implication far from syntagm. It’s one story of uncutability (immunity from articulation) and control of access to a metalanguage. Stories are restackable…
X is close to Y. Z is not close to Y. Z is (not close to) X.
Objects may appear closer. A syntagm is an image. Go figure.
But remember that traversals may be limited in the theatre of meaning as they may not be in the theatre of being.
And so for day 59