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What Must Remain Hidden to Picture-Men. Notes on So-Called Semantic Enclaves

Author: Hermann Kalkofen
[published in: IMAGE 26 (Ausgabe Juli 2017)]

In dealing with a diagrammatical drawing, Wittgenstein noticed in the second part of his philosophical investigations that in some respect he stands towards it as he does towards a human face: »I can study its expression, can react to it as to the expression of the human face. A child can talk to the picture-men or picture-animals, can treat them as it treats dolls« (WITTGENSTEIN 1968: 194). It can from a childlike angle, moreover, be known where picture-animals look, what may be gleaned from their glances in principle, and what on the contrary, will always be hidden to them. Wallis thinks of a semantic enclave as »a part of a work of art consisting of signs of another kind or from another system then the signs forming the whole work. Some examples: quotations in French in a novel written in English, inscriptions in medieval pictures« (WALLIS 1970: 525). This observation shall be carried on; Wallis’ second example deserves picture-man’s inter-est. The question of how which semantic enclaves—aren’t there iconic ones, too?—are located within pictorial space renders the basis of a taxonomy to be developed. The problem of semantic enclaves is obviously related, though not in a clear fashion, to the one of semantic degrees. For example: The copper-etching of Galatea’s yet not statue and the likewise copper-engraved Pygmalion are picture-beings which belong to disparate classes; holding unequal semantic station they cannot be in communication. Seeing such icon items—though that would be sensible in a way—in terms of semantic degrees, however, would not account for the grounds, which caused Stachowiak to place oral language on the second and written text on a third semantic step. These reasons are, however, not cogent in the view of the pre-sent author, who tries to carry out instead the authentic semantic-degree-concept of Russell and Whitehead in the field of iconics.

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