Reading Assignment: Roland Barthes Rhetoric of the Image

What are some of the key questions Barthes aims to investigate in the article?

Barthes aims to investigate the meaning of an image. How the message reaches the viewer, does it really shows in terms literal or symbolic? Are there actually codes in an image and how does meaning gets into the image.

What are some of the key terms/ concepts introduced and discussed?

Linguistic message: a first message, its support are the caption which is marginal, and the labels, these being inserted into the natural disposition the scene.

Iconic message: A certain informational matter that we need to further read and understand that it assembles in a common space number of identifiable objects, not merely shapes and colors. Real objects.

Lexicon: A portion of the symbolic plane (of language) which corresponds to a body of practices and techniques.

Polysemous: They imply, underlying their signifiers, a ‘floating chain’ of signified, the reader able to choose some and ignore the others. It poses a question of meaning and this question always comes through as a dysfunction.

Do you agree or disagree with his argument and point of view?

I do agree with his point as an image is not just for aesthetic purposes, it has a message/ meaning to tell. And it has to really reach the viewer the way it’s supposed to tell.

Provide a brief analysis (200 words) on an advertisement of your choice by using the terms/ concepts proposed by Barthes and discuss the role of text and its relationship with the image in the advertisement. Please include an image the advertisement in your post.

Global Warming PSA Project-Ferdi Rizkiyanto

This is a global warming awareness poster by Ferdi Rizkiyanto for a Global Warming PSA Project. The linguistic message shown is “We are running out of time…Act now before it’s too late”. Its role is to support and further pushes out the meaning of the iconic message that already explains the meaning of the image itself. For example, the hourglass, clearly it represents ‘running out of time’ and as we can see the top half of the hourglass shows a melting Antarctic dripping water into the other half of the hourglass which the city we live in, filling it up. This shows the effect of global warming on us which is rising of sea water level. Therefore, the text is in a small and thin font as it’s not really needed to shout out the message of the image.

Strange Encounters

Georges Bousquet aka Casajordi-

Georges Bousquet creates his collages by first sketching out his ideas on paper and then taking them into Photoshop.  Each work he did has about 300 layers and takes around15 hours to build.


This is an interesting work that appeals to me as the idea of fish flying in the sky is totally out of the world. Not something that we can see and imagine. The fish are also wearing socks! How strange yet interesting it is. The colours used in the work are also well-balanced and the contrast and focus point of the work is the fish which is orange in colour. Overall it is one work that appeals to me visually.


Head Soup – The strange world of Anton Vill

The pencil illustrations of Estonian artist Anton Vill. The illustration reveals a strange organic universe, as fascinating as tortured. The works bring us into the imagination of the artist, halfway between dream and nightmare. 
This work really appeals to me as it reminds me of the time where I am exposed to the traditional art of rendering and sketching. The exploration of girls and doll-like elements in the work feels like it’s coming to life. It looks realistic even though it is a surreal illustration. The blending of the lines is smooth. And all of his sketches have a consistent flow and touch.

Cai Guo-qiang, Homeland.

The gunpowder-on-paper work was created on September 25, 2013 for Christie’s inaugural Shanghai auction, where it will be sold for charity.

Cai Guo-qiang, Homeland. The gunpowder-on-paper work was created on September 25 –