Introduction to Semiotics of Cultures, 2010
Juri Lotman – Universe of the Mind
Chapter 2
I-I and I-S/he communication
Vesa Matteo Piludu
University of Helsinki
I – S/he
Chapter 2
 Communication system I-S/he
 Adresser
 Context – Message
 Adressee S/he
 Information transferred in space
 Relevance: quantity of information
 Media
Contact - Code
 Self-communication
 Self-reflection on meanings
 Information can be transferred in time (reminders)
 Mnemonic
 Or creative function (supplementary information)
 Addresser and addressee remain the same, but the message is
reformulated and acquire new meanings or is expressed in new
 Relevance: quality of information
 Art
The I – I communication
 The I –I communication is sensible to external codes or different
languages (music, visual codes, architecture), or messages and
 Isn’t produced in monastic isolation
Example 1: Dream at sea by Tyuchef
 Both the sea and the storm rocked our boat
 Drowsy I gave myself over entirely to the whim of waves
 There were two infinites in me
 An they began willfully to play with me.
 Around me the rocks sounded like cymbals
 The winds answered and waves sang.
 Deafened I lay in the chaos of sounds,
 But my dreams rose up over the chaos of sounds
Example 1:
I – I and foration of new messages
 I -I
 Message 1 (importance of sounds)
 Is transformed in Message 2 (importance of sounds for the self)
 Code 1 (music) – Code 2 (poetry)
Example 2: Eugene Onegin a novel in verse
written by Alexander Pushkin
 All translation by Charles Johnson available as Google-book or
Penguin classic
 Chapter 8 / XXXVI
- Universe of Mind, page 24
What happened? Thought his eyes were reading,
His thought were on a distant goal:
Desires and dreams and grieves were breeding
And swarming in his inmost soul.
Between the lines of text as printed,
His mind’s eyes focused on the hinted
Purport of other lines; intense
Was his absorption in theirs sense.
Example 2: Eugene Onegin a novel in verse
written by Alexander Pushkin
 Chapter 8 / XXXVI
- Universe of Mind, page 24
Legends, and mystical traditions,
Drawn from a dim, warm-hearted past,
Dreams of inconsequential past,
Rumors and threads and premonitions,
Long, lively tales from wonderland,
Or letters in a young girl’s hand.
Example 2: Eugene Onegin a novel in verse
written by Alexander Pushkin
 Chapter 8 / XXXVII
- Universe of Mind, page 24
Then gradually upon sensation,
And though, a sleepy numbness steals;
Before his eyes, imagination
Bring out its faro pack, and deals.
 Chapter 8 / XXXVIII - Universe of Mind, page 24
Who could have looked the poet better,
As in the nook he’d sit alone
By blazing fireplace, and intone
Idol mio or Benedetta,
And on the flames let fall unseen
A slipper, or a magazine?
Example 2: Eugene Onegin a novel in verse
written by Alexander Pushkin
 Codes supporting I-I communication (self reflecion):
 Printed texts (source for imagination)
 Flickering of fire
 The intoned tunes
 The hero is not searching for an immediate message in the texts
 He is reading between the lines
 The book serve to stimulate the flow of the thoughts: the faro pack of
his imagination
 The intrusion of other codes (fire, texts, music) organize and
stimulate the internal monologue of the hero
Buddist monk and stone park
 The Mathematical rhythm of the sand garden / stone parks evoke a
mood conducive to introspection
 Karesansui, or "dry gardens," are abstract representations of natural
landscapes in which stones, gravel, sand, and moss are used to
depict mountains, rivers, and islands
Stone – Sand gardens
Japanese Zen Garden, Kyushu, Japan
Japanese Zen Garden
Kinkaku-ji or 'the Golden Pavilion - Kyoto
Nijo-jo [jo=castle], exterior and garden
It was the Tokugawa Shogun's Kyoto residence
A Zen Buddhist temple priest rakes gravel in a
Kyoto garden
Human communication
 Based on two models
 I-s/he:
 Already given information transmitted from one person to another
using the same code
 I-I
 Increase of information (new ideas), its transformation, reformulation
using new codes
 Self-discovery, auto-psychotherapy
Problems of I-I communication
 Vygotsksy
 The internal speech is soundless
 This create a problem when it’s necessary to express it by sounds or
 Kyukhebeker (prison diary):
 “I have been dreaming not of objects, or events, but some kind of
abbreviations which relate to them like hieroglyphs to a picture”
 Intense symbolization
 This can lead to cryptography or a form of writing understandable
only by the writer
 Sometimes mnemonic draft (done by musicians or writers) are not
comprehensible for other people
Example: Pushkin love anagrams
 Creative I – I communication could lead to a kind of innovative
cryptography, anagrams, creative writing
 Pushkin, 1928, poem: Alas! The tongue of garrulous love
 Dedicated to Anna Alekseevana Olenina
 Jotting:
 Ettenna eninelo
 Eninelo ettenna
 Olenina
 Annette
 Anagram of the name and surname of Anna, Annette in French
 The repetition create an hypnotic rhythm, similar to a love spell
Tension between the codes
 If a message in a natural language
 Is followed by a supplementary code (rhythmical)
 There is tension between the two codes
 As a result the
 the text could be interpreted following the secondary code (the
 But the normal semantic values remain valid
Texts used as codes
 A text is used as a code
 When it does not add simple informative messages
 But it transform the self-understanding of the person who has
engendered the text
 And it transfers already existing messages into a new system of
Example: Pushkin’s Tatyana (Onengin)
 Tatyana read novels in that way:
Seeing herself a creation
Clarissa, Julie, or Delphine
By writers of her imagination,
Tatyana, lonely heroine,
Roamed the still forest like a ranger,
Sought in her book, that text of danger
And found her dreams, her secret desire;
She signed, and in trance co-opted
Another’s joy, another breast,
Whispered by hearth a note addressed
To the hero that she’d adopted.
 The text of Tatyana is not a simple media message, like news
 But a code, a new language, a model for reinterpreting reality
Poetic and artistic texts
 Oscillate between the I – s/he and the I-I communication
 Both are present
 As a whole is more oriented towards self-reflective communication,
but the element of I-s/he communication are always present
 The literate generally has a negative attitude towards the standard
message texts
 The poetic text could be even in conflict with some laws of the
natural language
 But also in the most extreme cases, avant-garde poetry is perceived
as a text in a natural language (French, Russian)
 Otherwise it couldn’t fulfill his communicative function
 Poetry is a pendulum, oscillating between I-s/he and I-I systems
Art and culture
 The laws of construction of an artistic text are very largely the laws of
construction of culture as a whole
There are cultures (media) where the I-s/he channel is predominant:
Cultural consumer as ideal addressee
great quantity or bombing of information
few self-reflection, passivity
Education as acquisition of knowledge
 And other more oriented to auto communication (avant-garde)
Folk culture
 The participant of a carnival are all receivers and senders of
information: they are generally all actives
 The system of language (folk song) could be formal and structured,
but the contents are often free
 The listener could be a singer and he could transform the song in his
future performance
 A modern theatergoer, if isn’t a theatre professional, is more passive
than a storyteller
 The folk cultures are however less dynamic in terms of acquisition of
new knowledge
The perfection in the middle
 The most viable cultures are those system
 Where the struggle between the two systems has not resulted in an
all-out victory for one of them

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