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Colloquium - Dick

Communicating Signs
Holger Dick
Department of Computer Science

"Old Media-Designers", i.e., writers, photographer, movie-director, and radio-hosts, created fixed artifacts, i.e., signs, which were transported to, received and understood by consumers. New Media-artifacts, in contrast, do not only distribute signs like words, pictures, and sounds but also understand signs. As the consumer begins to produce and send signs to the artifact, she becomes a user.

Therefore, the difference between traditional artifacts, i.e., old media and machines, and New Media lies in the capability to react to signs. This is the reason why we speak of terms as "interaction" or "artificial intelligence". Anyhow, as it is still a "medium", it doesn't decide by itself how to react on which signs but transports the author's opinions and ideas. It "mediates" between user and designer.

The talk will give a overview over some signs and semiotic-theories, and will apply these to well-known problems. We will learn why one can't send signs to traditional media and why humans, animals, and computers are not the same (from a semiotic point of view, at least). We will develop why there is no such sign which has the meaning X. The talk will present some ideas of how semiotics affect New Media-designers and what designers (and users) can learn from semiotic theories.

Sponsored by the Center for Lifelong Learning & Design.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)