I’ll huff, and puff and blow your mind

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Image source: Pawel Kuczynski

What do you see?

First look of this image can leave you questioning the artists motives, what could pigs possibly have to do with such luxuries as limousines or red carpets?  Kuczynski’s satirical imagery has a way of portraying more then meets the eye. His lack of caption within the image, encourages the audience to look back on their own knowledge and personal experiences to help create meaning of the image, leaving it open to many different interpretations.

What could possibly be the meaning behind this image?

Pigs have become the symbol for a variety of extremes of human characteristics. In some cultures, the pig is seen as a representation of joy and happiness, whereas others see it as a sign of greed, fear, gluttony, disgust, and dirtinessflying_pig_by_rutabaga

The interpretations of a pig are so broad, emphasizing the string of interpretations available.

The pigs are juxtaposed by the red carpet and limousine,which represent wealth and luxury, not forgetting the man (presumably driver) “waiting” at the door. The image creates multiple contexts…

The pigs could be drawing attention to the greed and ‘dirty’ or fraudulent acts of the rich, possibly even concentrating on that of politicians and the ‘mess they make’.

Moving-animated-picture-of-pig-in-the-mud

The image could be reflecting the difference, that the privilege produce, in that we only are able to see due to the comparisons made; we would not feel poor, if there were no richer, and vice versa.

pig

The driver significantly stands back, out of the way for anything that wants to pass, revealing how those of wealth and/or power have unobstructed access to those of lower status’ resources.

The background is very bland, making the other elements stand out, emphasising the importance of these ‘symbols’.

We seem as a species to be driven by a desire to make meanings: above all, we are surely Homo significans – meaning-makers.
Daniel Chandler, Visual Semiotican

I decided to test Chandler’s statement, and asked some peers what they saw within the image. This was definitely an eye opener into the many different connotations an image can convey.

“It glorifies farmers…and how important they are for our society” –Sara, 18

“The greediness and consumerism of society” –Sara, 21

“It is ironic” –Tim, 19

“High flyers with their snouts in the trough.” –Dad

“Celebrity greed” –James, 23

“It looks like the path Miley Cyrus took” –Zac, 19

“People who have the product and therefore money are the ones in control” –Vicky, 19

“The people that we deem as important or celebrities etc, are selfish and greedy and pig like” –Rachel, 17

Let’s talk about semiotics…

What is it?

Semiotics origins from linguistics and the study of meanings, but can be described as the study or science of signs. A sign, being something they conveys meaning (for example, a piece of artwork), has both a signifier, what gives its meaning (the red carpet, dirty pigs, limousine) and the signified, what is evoked or perceived by these (greed, difference or even Miley Cyrus).

Signs have a literal meaning (the denotation) and socio- cultural or personal interpretations (connotations) associated with them. The denotation of an image is generally what most people would see before further analysis, take Kuczynski’s image above, it is a picture of limousine and red carpet rolled out to a trough of pigs. Whereas the connotations will vary upon every audience to the ‘sign’.

It is such a complex notion, maybe the artist wanted us to see one particular thing or maybe he wanted us to see tens of thousands of things.

What do you see?

What do you think he meant?

There are no facts, only interpretations.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Philosopher

References

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4 responses to “I’ll huff, and puff and blow your mind

  1. I really like the picture you have chosen and your use of pig pictures throughout the blog. I was interested in the artist, but I had to search him my self because your links weren’t working? Your analysis and research is all very interesting and it is nice and easy to see the direction you are going with it.
    Looking at the picture for the first time I thought a couple of things that you didn’t mention. Such as maybe the pigs aren’t leaving the car, but soon to be entering it? Maybe the red carpet is like the path to wealth from the pigsty.
    Just a first impression, though I do like how you have included the thoughts of other people including your dad. Something else I noticed looking at the other works by Pawel Kuczynski was that the limo and supposable driver has been used in more then one of his art works. Maybe explaining that and talking about the artist a bit more might change the impression someone might get from the image? Over all I like it and the definition/explaining of ‘Semiotics’ finished the post nicely, also helpful to explain the post.

    • Thank you for your insight trend64, Kuczynski has created such a complex image, so it is interesting to hear so many different interpretations. I like that your impression of the image juxtaposes so many I have mentioned, continuously emphasising the variations behind semiotics.

      I did consider discussing Kuczynski’s repetitive use of a limo in several of his images, however I wanted to encourage readers to create their own interpretations of the image. Did you find your interpretation changed after viewing the other images featuring limos?

      I would also like to apologise for the broken links, they have been fixed, and if you are interested in knowing more about, I would definitely recommend Daniel Chandler’s ‘Introduction to Semiotics’.

      Thanks for reading,
      Millie

  2. When I look at this image, my interpretations of the connotations behind it are clear. I feel like Kuczynski is portraying the message that the ‘high class’ people who are seen in the media today, the ones who live the glamorous lives, are actually pigs. Not literal pigs of course but pigs in the sense that they are filthy, ill mannered and selfish. I feel like this image shows ‘the real side of fame’. Awesome read, thankyou.

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