In my current brain’s context

When I was attending in the lecture, the language of new media the last week, I was thinking again and again that it was hard for me to read Umberto Eco’s novels such as the name of rose, Baudolono, and
Foucault’s pendulum. I couldn’t continue to read the books, and then threw them away somewhere in my room. Whenever I read the books, I felt that I had to do decipher his language, context, and construction, as if I become an archeologist in Egypt. His only book that I could read completely is just about how to write a thesis well in Korea(I have no idea how well I organized my thesis after reading it)     

The reason I thought about him is because the lecture reminded me of semiotics, or sign. (We all know that he is famous in semiotics field.) I used to study semiotics for visual communication design and media theory, but the only fact I can remember is just that those things make me perplexed to approach.  Like a wordplay…  I cannot think about my theme for this blogging, since my brain is already occupied by a lot of persons;  Jean Baudrillard, Marshall Mcluhan, Roland Barthes, Eco, Lev Manovich, and Saussure. Hmm.. What can I do? They are interrupting my thought now like a huge wall in front of me. I am doubtful if they made me interested in their theories. However, I can live without them or their theories. I can survive even though I am not in the real world that Simulation and Simulacra mean, even though I don’t know the relationship between media and human sense, and its expansion, or even though I don’t recognize Signifier or Signified drifted in my life. I really have no idea how they created/organized them.

So.. Prof. Jeff! I have a question. Why do we mention about that kind of difficult theories? Why should we know that for interaction culture? I guess you’d like to say this “good point and we are going to discuss this idea for this semester” 😉 In my opinion, interaction for user to user, user to object, or object to object should be intuitive/transparent as if human being doesn’t sense the relationship between them. If I know the theories completely, I guess I cannot design the intuitive interaction for users, since there are a lot of issues to deal with. Could you let me know how to approach the theories and how to apply them for interaction design? I think this article includes a bad point. Just… remove the thinkers in my brine, and need to make me clear again.     


  1. Tyler Pace

    Thank you for posting what we’re all thinking or unable to think because so many theorists have commandeered our brains and are doing the thinking for us!

  2. jeffreybardzell

    You know me well, because my answer really is, “good point and we are going to discuss this idea for this semester.” One of the things I mean by that, though, is to be a little bit patient. You will not understand the theory right away, and that means of course that you won’t really understand what you think about it or how to use it. That will come with time.

    Also, understanding someone like Baudrillard takes a committed effort, one that is not required in this class. So if someone like that comes up in the reading, don’t worry too much about what Baudrillard or Barthes might be saying in himself; rather, just try to understand why someone like Barnard would include him alongside some of the other people. That is, try to understand the general concepts that hold them all together.

    As for how to do semiotics, or what are its deeper significances for interaction design, don’t worry about that just yet. We’ll get to it, and I’ll show you in class some strategies you can really use that aren’t too hard and don’t require one to understand very weird concepts like “simulacra.”

    The hardest, and best question you ask is “Could you let me know how to approach the theories and how to apply them for interaction design?” The answer is YES! But not in a comment to a blog post. It will take 15 weeks of conversations, excercises, and practice. But you will get there, I promise (though you may still feel that you want/need to learn more, but that’s a good thing!).

  3. wodom

    When reading the dense theoretical texts, like those abound in Jeff’s coursework, it always helps me to think about ‘what is this author really trying to say to me.’ They’ve obviously taken a long time to develop there ideas and articulate a unique way of looking at the world. However, the language and complex concepts can sometimes make them seem impenetrable. After a while you’ll develop a sensibility for critically examining what exact the author is trying to get at (although this is always a bit harder when you’re jumping around to multiple authors and perspectives).

    AND REMEMBER, if all else fails, bring up intertextuality and say the ideas are unoriginal.


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