Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What is left (really) Roland Barthes? – Le Figaro

A TONIGHT ON TV – A portrait of Arte broadcasts semiotician who clung to decipher the signs hidden behind all forms of communication

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What remains of Roland Barthes? To answer this question, the documentary by Chantal Thomas, Roland Barthes, the theater language , broadcast on Arte Wednesday, paints a portrait of him that intimate clung to decipher the signs hidden behind all forms of communication. The film, based on a number of excerpts from interviews semiotician, not only to follow an unusual intellectual journey, but also to meet a warm and deeply human personality.

Roland Barthes (1915-1980) may seem unclassifiable at first. He himself said, in the 1970s, in his deep voice: “My situation is rather difficult to grasp. I’m not a philosopher, not a thinker. I am no more a writer like you could hear it fifty years ago. I’m thinking the sentence and vice versa. “

A critique of consumerism

Roland Barthes describes becoming interested in the science of signs on late: “I discovered semiotics in 1956, reading the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure.” At this moment it decides to apply semiotics to various objects. Result: in 1957, Roland Barthes published a collection of articles under the title Mythologies, in which he analyzes the myths of modern daily life. According to the author, consumer objects, like cars, are becoming myths through the language

So, about the Citroën DS output in the 1950s, he said. “The DS 19 really worked like a magic object, a kind of object fell from the sky. I think a car, what is more national brand, is the product of the collective work of engineers and workers, and meets at the same time a very high consumption, just as the religious buildings of the Middle Ages. “Words that may surprise or confuse, but which correspond to a critique of consumerism that could apply to the society of the twenty-first century.

The film reminds Roland Barthes belongs to the group known as structuralism. “What seek in very different fields, Claude Lévi-Strauss in anthropology or Jacques Lacan in psychoanalysis, I also tries modestly to look regarding a number of other languages, such as literature said the semiotician before specifying: the structuralist is interested in how these kinds of uncomplicated objects are systems of meaning “

But these systems of meaning, which are all ways. to communicate, are countless. To which focuses all the work of Roland Barthes and other structuralists (philosophers Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault) is to explain that these sys¬tèmes function as so many languages.

Through this portrait is the intellectual ferment of an era – with which one can agree or not – that is reborn. The enthusiasm of Roland Barthes, his sharp and original look at the modern world, now has an outdated and strangely modern side that appeals.


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