The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

A text is more than just words


Is this a text?

View from my house near Monte Alban, Oaxaca

My definition of a text:

A text is a collection of symbols that carry meaning. A text can be interpreted or “read” because the symbols are coherent and understandable, i.e. they are a code in the semiotic sense.

In this way, I hope to define a text as more than just words, but also include images, tattoos, facial expressions and gestures, and perhaps even landscapes.

Could an ancestral landscape be considered a text to an indigenous community, where rocks, trees and clouds can be read as they have meaning?


1 Catherine Gagnon { 09.13.09 at 3:29 pm }

What a beautiful picture you paint with your own words! I’d love to think of landscape as text left by our ancestors. After all, they have moulded it, using their own technology. Lovely!

2 Deb Giesbrecht { 09.13.09 at 4:33 pm }

Beautiful picture!

3 Caroline Faber { 09.13.09 at 11:13 pm }

Interesting! I like the idea of text as tatoos as well! And for yourself, text goes beyond written or documented (facial expressions) in that it is, in essence, expression and communication?

I am pondering this now as I wonder about verbal and non-verbal language. We can represent and record verbal abstract ideas through ‘printed’ form, and is facial expression a form of representation of the abstract then as well? So many thoughts on this to process!!! Thanks for the great post…

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