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Communication: The Power of Location

Essays on Adespotic Aesthetics


Luciano Nanni

«May I have a coffee?» How different the meaning of this statement is when it is uttered on a stage rather than in a café. What matters in one place does not matter at all in another. In the café, all that matters is the communicative-referential level of the message (attention focused solely on the concept of coffee), but on the stage everything else counts: the tone of the voice, symbolic, anthropological, and ritualistic values, etc. The first message is monosemic and the second polysemic, or open to an indefinite number of interpretations. What accounts for this difference? Is it the intention of the speaker or of the receiver? The statement’s structure? Or is it the location in which it is uttered? The author privileges the role played by the contexts in which the message is emitted and, against current opinion in semiotics, hermeneutics, and aesthetics, illustrates their determining power.