Call For Papers -Punctum. Semiotics x Curating

Punctum. International Journal of Semiotics. Semiotics x Curating

Special issue of Punctum. International Journal of Semiotics 10:2 (2024).

Guest editors : Stéphanie Bertrand & Sotirios Bahtsetzis

Curating has been defined as an intermediary practice that utilizes acts of selection and arrangement to facilitate interpretation – that is, to support individual and collective meaning-making – and add value. Since the mid-1990s, the practice has gained increasing scholarly attention and has emerged as an autonomous field of study that examines the rationale, mechanisms, and impacts of different multimodal display strategies deployed both in the physical and digital domain with a particular focus on identity and ideology, tracing their social, political and cultural implications. Since the field’s inception, there have been notable and productive cross-overs between semiotics and curation. From a curatorial perspective, these have included the conception of the museum as a discursive, intertextually organized space, the recurring analogy of the curator as translator, the debate surrounding the “grammar of the exhibition” positing curation as syntax, and the understanding of the exhibition visitor as a Model Reader. Conversely, semioticians have analyzed the semiotic power of the exhibition space, and utilized different semiotic approaches to decode museum communication, ranging from in-gallery wall texts and label copy to digital promotional material. Notwithstanding, while the semiotics of visual arts has a long tradition, the study of curation as a semiotic system with substantive effects on signification, meaning-making, communication, and interpretation is still relatively underdeveloped and has only been the subject of isolated contributions.

This special issue is the first publication dedicated to the intersection of semiotics and curating. Its aim is to expand and enhance existing understandings of the semiotics of curation by examining its theoretical elaboration, methodological perspectives, and manifold applications in diverse sectors, where curating is now ubiquitous, but effectively used to serve diverging purposes, among others, to personalize access, signal distinction, amplify ideological positions (propaganda) and generate wealth by inflating value. Its ambition is to explore how semiotics (with an emphasis on interpretation, framing, translation, engagement, enunciative assemblages, image- acts, storytelling, open text, multi-modality, and metafunctions) can be used as a valuable toolkit to unpick and grapple with the intended and unintended consequences of human and algorithmic curation on personal and collective sensemaking and valorization processes.

Call for papers here

Fédération Romane de Sémiotique
Romance Federation of Semiotics
Federazione Romanza di Semiotica
Federação Românica de Semiótica