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Amercan Mythologies: Route 66

Semiotics, Barthes and Route 66
by

Nicholas Grant

on 4 February 2015

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Transcript of Amercan Mythologies: Route 66

Signifier
Signified
Myth
Signifier
Signified
The material of physical form of the sign - usually an object
The meaning or interpretation - a mental construct
The sign is the product of the relationship between the signifier and the signified
The cover of the 'Paris Match' magazine
The image of a black French soldier giving a salute and the idea it produces.
Barthes: "a purposeful mixture of Frenchness and militariness."
The relationship between the original sign and the signifier (the language object) e.g. the magazine cover and the ideas relating to French militariness.
Barthes: "that France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without any color discrimination, faithfully serve under her flag, and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism than the zeal shown by the Negro in serving his so-called oppressors."
Myths are created through the relationship between both semiological systems - the initial sign becomes the signifier.
Myths distort historical realities
There is always motivation behind a myth
Barthes: "What must always be remembered is that myth is a double system; there occurs in it a sort of ubiquity: its point of departure is constituted by the arrival of a meaning." (p. 232-233)
How myths are created: In myth there are two semiological systems - one which is staggered in relation to the other - the first is a linguistic system that Barthes refers to as the 'language object' - the second system Barthes refers as a 'metalanguage' out of which the myth is created. This is a double process where two interrelated signs are created.
Roland Barthes and Mythologies
Route 66: An American Myth?
Chuck Berry - "Route 66" (1961)
Twentysix Gasoline Stations - Edward Ruscha (1963)
America on a Plate - The Story of the Diner
Visual Postcards
Billy Bragg - "A13, Trunk Road to the Sea"
Sign
Full transcript