I am taking part in the CityStreet3 conference in Beirut between 31 October – 3 November 2018, with a paper on Venetian surface semiotics.
The paper is entitled “This way to San Marco: A semiotic examination of vernacular signage in Venice” and will be presented as part of a conference track on communication, visualisation and semiotics. The overall theme of the four days is “Transitional streets: narrating stories of convivial streets” and the event is organised by Notre Dame University in Lebanon.
The main argument of the paper is that urban surface signs are not just mediators for the identity of a city, but they form an intrinsic part of that identity, both materially and culturally. Independently produced, Venetian vernacular signs are all the more relevant because they reflect people’s direct engagement with the city, and their claimed ownership of the space. These signs produce a body of collective knowledge and creative production which becomes embedded in the identity of the city, and which I argue has a value of contemporary cultural heritage. The signs of Venice are the city itself.
You can see the full conference programme here, photos and stories to follow after the event.