In this article authors attempted to discover (identify and describe) changes of the symbolical meanings/marks/codes of political transformations within visual representations on the basis of Russian fashion magazines materials covering period between 1980 till 2013 years. On the example of 918 magazines’ and 135 Mersedes-benz Fashion Week Russia 2012/2013 photos, this research completed in screening design of studying processes of political changes with “steps” connected to significant stages of regime transformations. Authors concludes that through fashion magazines, intensively filled by visual tokens, public political processes are not just reflected which allows to clarify their semantically-communicative codes, rather is ongoing anticipatory legitimization of social order and political regime changes, probably initiated and/or supported from powered groups.
The main theme of the article is the notion of paradigmatic character of vi- sual image for the topical and methodological self-consciousness of the visual culture studies. Among main questions under consideration are the following:what is a structural unity between material and meaningful aspects of visual representations? How is this unity connected to the ways the socially relevant visual representations circulate in contemporary culture? One of the key con- clusions of the article: the notion of the specific iconic materiality – the struc- tural interconnection of modes of seeing, understanding and presence, put into effect in some perceptive acts – is able to function as an explanatory model for a set of important processes in contemporary visual culture such as the current priority of visual forms of communication, historical durability of cul- tural imagery (despite instability and diversity of their visual embodiment), enhancement of the role of visual literacy and, as a consequence, necessity of the revision of current educational standard.
Great playwrights, whose names are associated with the “golden age” of the ancient Greek theater, often put on tragedies on the same subjects and even with the same names. Turning to the existing interpretations or creating new ones, they tried to teach a lesson to the city and instruct its audience-students on a certain interpretation of the current events. The polemic between the authors of the ancient Greek tragedies gave an additional flavor to the theatre agons, and the polemic between the modern researchers studying it has created a space for an interdisciplinary dialogue on the features of the ancient visual culture, amongst other things. In the article, a comparative analysis of three versions of the mythological plot about Orestes and Electra, presented in the tragedy by Aeschylus “The Libation Bearers” and the tragedies of the same name “Electra” by Euripides and Sophocles, is carried out. These ancient Greek playwrights represent a hierarchy of the significance of the main characters – the brother and the sister, who are carrying out a plan of vengeance for the death of their father Agamemnon, through the hierarchy of their virtues and life principles. The comparison of the three tragedies is carried out according to a scheme that allows you to see these hierarchies: 1) at the beginning of the tragedy, where the first meeting of Orestes and Electra, during which they begin to try to assert their right to instruct themselves and others, takes place; 2) at the moments when the heroes come into conflict in point of who has the right to instruct under the supervision of the gods as the supreme instructors, and in what subjects; 3) at the end of the tragedy, when the heroes see the results of their instructions. The city, in which the tragic action unfolds, is either narrowing down to the particular family, where everyone thinks of himself as a mentor to the others, or expanding to the intellectual and political community of citizens who can be instructed by the example of their rulers. Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles offer the reader / spectator different “formats” of visual instructions in which the divine will and human desires are combined. In addition to the ancient Greek literary tradition, the mythological subjects about Orestes and Electra were reflected in the material culture (ancient Greek vases, relief images and bronze artifacts), which is another level of visualization of the instructions, this visualization being primary to the theater in some cases, and secondary in others. The tradition of depicting the mythological scenes about Orestes and Electra on the artifacts had taken shape long before the theatrical productions of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles, partly predetermining their “discourse of the word’ and “discourse of the image”, and being partly transformed under their influence.
Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field of knowledge where the most significant scientific breakthroughs occur in the XXI century. They are significant both for the development of convergent technologies and for the dissemination of interdisciplinary and integrative trends in research that connect areas previously thought of as completely incompatible, including natural sciences and the humanities. The author shows that in cognitive science, despite the highly theorized and narrowly special focus of many its areas of research, visual images are quite often and productively used. Some of them, such as cognitive map, cognitive niche, cognitive landscape, cognitive field that echoes the concept of dynamic field in Gestalt psychology, the wandering around the field of meanings, search tree are discussed in the article. A special role is also played by mental imagery, which form a basis for the work of productive imagination and creative thinking, studied in cognitive psychology. It is substantiated in the article that such visualization tools are essential not only as initial “scaffolding” for the development of theoretical concepts, but also for clarifying the nuances of the meaning of complex scientific constructions. In addition, in today's cognitive science, the phenomenological approach and the so-called “first-person methodology” are gaining popularity, taking into account that the meaning of theoretical constructions begins to live and work, being unpacked in the life world of each particular personality. Thus, the inseparability of figurative visual knowledge and abstract verbal knowledge gets additional justification through the understanding of the inseparability of the ordinary and scientific knowledge.
The article anylizez visual representations of gastronomic culture which extend opportunities practices in modern mass society. New forms of social solidarity on the base of common gastronomic experience emerge and its shows visual channels media and the Internet. Culinary book as a traditional form of gastronomic expert knowledge acquires various visual interpretations. As images of the body, images of the food are verified for conformity to standards of glamor. Consumption of such food is offered as a situational assimilation of marks the most cherished identity, which is represented by a media figure, a celebrity.
The geocultural space of any region is formed as a result of the interaction of two weakly separable elements – geocultures developing in the given territory and cultural landscapes. The full development of a geocultural space involves the formation of a unique ontology of imagination, which creates a cognitive “foundation” for the construction of appropriate models. Ontological models of imagination characterize the possibilities of an expanded representation and interpretation of the cultural landscapes of a region. The visuality of a cultural landscape is a complex formation in which visual reactions and reflections are the result of multiple imaginations – both personal and group. The geocultural space of the Arctic, in its visual-discursive dimension, is complex, since the tradition of the “colonial view”, coupled with the tendencies to analyze postcolonial practices and to decolonize various Arctic discourses, creates an ambivalent discursive field of relevant visual practices and policies. The existential situation of post-exoticism, typologically characteristic of the Arctic regions, is a field of ontologization of multiple visual practices that consolidate rhizomatic procedures of geocultural distinctions. As a result of a field study of the coastal territories of North-Eastern Chukotka, the most visually intensive key landscape assemblages have been identified: 1) sea hunting, 2) traditional holidays of sea hunters, 3) “pristine” nature. Landscape assemblages are represented by various visual dispositives. Visual dispositives are understood as consistently reproducing and phenomenologically fixed visual landscape (geocultural) images that characterize the specifics of certain landscape assemblages. As a result of the study, five key visual dispositives have been identified that determine the specific forms of the reproduction and development of both geo-cultures themselves and the corresponding cultural landscapes of these territories: 1) the dispositive of sea hunters, the most borderline and fractal; 2) the dispositive of holidays of the traditional culture of sea hunters; 3) the dispositive of destruction and ruin associated with both the extreme natural conditions of the region and the era of the Soviet and post- Soviet development; 4) the dispositive of the “natural”, “pristine” space associated with the low development of the territory, and 5) the dispositive of multinaturalism, manifested in the features of the visual environments of Chukchi settlements (villages, urban-type settlements, small towns). These dispositives, intertwining and interacting, create multiple, constantly transforming landscape assemblages. Within the framework of the presented visual dispositives, the phenomena of Arctic post-exoticism and internal exoticism are formed, which fix the impossibility of returning to the pre-colonial “landscape optics”.
The article presents an analysis of expert interviews (N=13) based on the ideas of semiotic diagnostics. The interviews were conducted with Russian specialists in the fields of human genetics, medical genetics, and genomic medicine. The relevance of such diagnostics is due not only to the specificity of the above mentioned fields, which caused the emergence of new ideas about the role of the genome as a code and about the procedures of its editing, but also to the essence of social and humanitarian assessment of innovation, expressed in the finding of differences in the images of the present and the future, which all actors of the sphere of new technologies use. The aim of the study is to find out how experts look at the growth of the popularity of genetics, how they describe the expectations and requests from the government and society, what problems, in their opinion, they face in the development of scientific knowledge in Russia. In analyzing the data, the following main topics were highlighted: uncertainty; government support and regulation; the professional community problems; ethical limitations and responsibility to patients; expectations, fears and prejudices of people. The problem of uncertainty is one of the key issues for the current stage of knowledge about human genome. Experts note that it is impossible to foresee the long-term consequences of the use of genetic technologies, but this does not mean that research activities should be suspended. According to experts, the problem of uncertainty is solved through cautious and thoughtful actions of specialists, who are guided by the values of scientific knowledge and professional ethics. The government’s interest in the results of genetic research plays a controversial role. On the one hand, government support measures (such as financial, administrative) are being improved; on the other hand, excessive regulation of scientific activities appears, while many issues remain unresolved in terms of their legal regulation. In addition, experts have described problems that arise in the scientific and medical communities. Experts see the emergence in the scientific and organizational field of participants who monopolize resources through cooperation with the government as a process that will lead to restrictions on the free dissemination of scientific knowledge. There is also a problem in the academic community at the level of interaction with doctors who do not work with genetic data and are not ready to accept new diagnostic and treatment methods. Experts call ethical limitations and responsibility to patients the main principles of their work. In the experts’ statements, professional ethics is a working self-regulatory mechanism that warns against ill-considered actions. Finally, experts note that people are not ready to introduce genetic technologies into their everyday lives. This is partly due to the consumer attitude toward new services in the field of medical genetics, as far as people expect quick and clear answers and results from it; partly due to unfounded fears and myths, visualized in contemporary culture, about the danger of everything related to genetics. Thus, scientific knowledge about genes collides with different collective ideas, interests, fears, political and ideological attitudes, which ultimately affects scientists themselves.
A fundamental problem of search of sense in the Universe is under consideration in the article. The application of such notions as sense, sign, signal to the biological (non-linguistic) processes what is a main problem of biosemiotics is discussed as well. The epistemological analysis of the concept of Umwelt coined by Jakob von Uexküll is made and its significance for the modern advances in epistemology, in cognitive science and in the theory of complex adaptive systems is demonstrated. A man in his cognitive, sense-making activity is considered in aspect of the universal evolutionary process together with the realm of living nature. It is shown that on the basis of achievements of biosemiotics, a possibility of search of new ways of integration of natural scientific and humanitarian knowledge is glimmered.
Main theme of the article are the types of imagery becoming increasingly characteristic of contemporary culture. The core feature of these types is their being distributed across time and space, their ability to accompany us virtually everywhere, without being tied to any organizational form. Distributed imagery opposes “traditional”, non-distributed images “representing” some identifiable subject-matter. One of the essential traits of non-distributed imagery is its normative claim addressing not only the ways of its interpretation but also bodily practices of the perceiving subject, relevant for experiencing images of this kind. In contrast to the inherent oppressiveness of non-distributed imagery, connected to a perceptual regime characteristic of it, the distributed one draws not on reduction and control of the body of the perceiving subject but – on the contrary – on intensifying (and in this sense, on emancipating) its bodily emotional self-presence. From diachronic point of view, the relationship between distributed and non-distributed imageries is mediated by quite complicated socio-historical and material-technological dynamic of the developed and late modernity. Reconstruction of this dynamic enables us to identify the genetic interrelation (continuity) between non-distributed and distributed imagery. From synchronic point of view, distributed and non-distributed imagery forms generate incompatible experience types with mutually exclusive structural characteristics and social-political implications (discontinuity).
The Thebaid by Publius Papinius Statius is the most extensive surviving account of the war started by the sons of the Theban king Oedipus – Eteocles and Polynices. This fratricidal war is a crime that Statius wants to tell the reader about, having established himself in the role of a moralizing poet who is equally Roman and Greek. In the case of Oedipus’ children, the war is a divine instruction-punishment that mortals cannot or do not want to prevent. Eteocles and Polynices, as described by Statius, are young men evil by nature, experiencing the innate hatred of each other and lust for power. Having mixed the genres, Statius created a new version of the mythological events, which both ancient Greek and ancient Roman playwrights turned to. In his version, Eteocles and Polynices are not the last generation to whom the curse passed. Though the curse descended on the male line among the descendants of the Theban king Laius, it inevitably affected the female line as well. As if giving Eteocles and Polynices a chance to become better, Statius keeps delaying the beginning of the war, which allows Polynices to have a baby who is destined to become the fourth generation of the “wicked family”. Statius does not report on the fate of this child, giving readers the right to decide for themselves whether he will become the next pedagogical fiasco or turn into a pedagogical victory over the curse of the House of Laius. The article also analyzes the terminology used by Statius and Hyginus regarding the burial of Polynices – one of the key points of the plot. To refer to the funeral pyre, Hyginus uses the word «pyra» borrowed from Greek (πυρά). Statius chooses to use the Latin word «bustum» to refer to the funeral pyre of Eteocles, where Antigone and Argia place the body of Polynices. The scene of Antigone and Argia burying Polynices, described by Statius and Hyginus, is reproduced on a marble sarcophagus dating back to late II AD (Villa Doria Pamphilj). The fact that the version of Antigone and Argia buried Polynices was not invented in the Roman times but is rooted in an ancient Greek tradition going back to the archaic period is confirmed by the artifacts from material culture: for example, a sarcophagus from Corinth dating from the middle of the second century AD, which demonstrates a classical Greek influence, and an Etruscan amphora dating from approx. 550 BC (Basel: Inv. Züst 209), which depicts a combat between Polynices and Tydeus that Argia and her sister Deipyle watched.