Semiotics 1980 pp 417-426 | Cite as

Reckoning with the World

  • Donald Preziosi


Architecture, as a coherent, integrated, and autonomous domain of study, is an ironic and academic fiction, and its appropriation as a field of semiotic inquiry is a compounded fiction. I want to talk here about the hazards of this fiction. Speaking of architecture today necessarily evoikes the problematics of recent writing on the semiotics of nonverbal aspects of culture and experience. On this front, as has been noted periodically for over a decade,1 we encounter a mutually–reinforcing chain of linguistic metaphors for what architecture is, what it does, and for what architectural semioticians should do with it.


Visual Environment Recent Writing Semiotic Perspective Autonomous Domain Rical Body 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Krampen, M., “Meaning in the Urban Environment,” Pion Ltd., London (1979) 51–91.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Burgin, V., “Work and Commentary,” Phaidon, London (1973)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Foucault, M., What is an Author?, Partisan Review 42; (1975) 603–614.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Baker, K., Reckoning with Notation, Artforum, September, (1980): 32.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Casagrande, J.B., Language Universals and Anthropology, in: “Universals of Language,” J.H. Greenberg, ed., M.I.T. Press, Cambridge (1966) 279–298.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Preziosi, D., “The Origins of the Build World,” Indiana University Press, Bloomington & London (1981) 75ff;id., “Architecture, Language & Meaning,” Mouton, The Hague & Paris (1979) 73–91; id., “The Semiotics of the Built Environment,” Indiana University Press, Bloomington & London (1979) 61ff.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Marshack, A., “The Roots of Civilization,” McGraw-Hill, New York (1972).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Yates, F.A., “The Art of Memory,” University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1966).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lettvin, J.A., The Gorgon ‘s Eye, in: “Astronomy of the Ancients,” K. Brecher & M. Feirtag, eds., MIT Press, Cambridge (1979) 133.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Carroll, L., “Sylvia and Bruno Concluded,” Macmillan & Co., London (1893) 44.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Preziosi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Art and Art HistoryState University of New YorkBinghamtonUSA

Personalised recommendations