Francesco Mazzucchelli

Modes of Sign Destruction. How to arrest semiosis?

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Moving from the theory of modes of sign production proposed by Umberto Eco in 1975, this article explores possible lines of research in order to conceptualize the modes of sign destruction, that is, the operations through which the capacity of a sign to signify is disabled. The question recalls another theoretical issue already largely investigated by Eco: the semiotic impossibility of an "ars oblivionalis" that, contrary to an "ars memoriae", would facilitate the forgetfulness of something. Beyond the work of sign destruction and its results (not necessarily an interruption of semiosis), the article debates through several examples on the necessary actions to make a sign stop signifying: iconoclasm, alteration, concealment, production of noise/interferences, de-structuration and "disinvention".


  • Iconoclasm
  • Sign Production
  • Umberto Eco
  • Encyclopedia
  • Ars Oblivionalis


Article first page

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