Paper 1:The SEMIOTICS of the PAPER BAG

Part 1:  THE PAPER BAG This assignment gives you a chance to practice with the concepts and skills that will be needed for the final project.  The paper is one NICELY STRUCTURED PARAGRAPH with strong and precise SENTENCES.  REMEMBER my example in class!

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You are an artist or designer.  You have been given a paperbag.  You must make it into something USING one of the MANY connotations of the paperbag in our culture.

Working individually, and keeping in mind the basic building blocks of meaning-makingyou will “intervene” with text, images, etc. to produce a new “meaning” with thispaper bag. You MUST play with various connotations of the paper bagwith which we are so familiar with in culture (i.e. what is this bag associated with?). You can to subvert the content or form of a conventional paper bag and to point to a different meaning or irony.  For instance, you may choose to expose our (cultural) expectations of the bag’s contents.

You may: draw, paint, print, and add vinyl letters, glue, flatten, cut or whatever else you need to do to transform the bag.  You can make a movie or photograph and photoshop the bag. You can also add a linguistic signifier as anchorage (title, caption, letters) or relay.  You are free to make what you would like with this object as long as you can make it into a designed object or an art object.  Also, if you are photographer you can photograph the bag or if you are animator, you film the bag.  The subject, here is the paperbag.

Part 2: THE PAPERIn a short paper,which is ONE PARAGRAPH (ONE PAGEtyped),describe your idea (thesis statement). Then descript the supporting paragraphs describe your interventions of design /artistic decisions use at least 3 terms from this vocabulary: symbol, icon, index, metaphor, metonymy, simile and synecdoche (Lectures 1 and 2& 3) and from Rhetoric of the Image (Barthes) that was covered in classconnotation, denotation, anchor, relay, and linguistic message. Then, include a short conclusion.  TYPED and Double spaced.

HINT:Try to be both explicit and precise in your use of semiotic vocabulary.  For example if you folded your bag in particular way, what is the index of the fold mean?  If you put a linguistic message on the bag, is it an anchor what does it point to?  If you make a picture, is an icon or symbol and what does it connote? Is there a central metaphor? Is there a metonyn?HINT: use denotation and connotation.

Structure of Paper:

  1. One topic sentences to start with your idea of the bag.
  2. Three to four sentences describing how the “signs” on your bag make meaning. This part describes process and meaning and employ semiotic vocab.
  3. One sentence conclusion, ending with a metaphor or connotations or irony.


20%:  Part 1: Paper Bag: Idea for the bag and execution

80%:  Part 2: Paper:  For the correct usage of semiotic terms and articulation of your concept of the bag AND correct structure in you paper:  Thesis, supporting paragraphs, and conclusion.  YOU NEED ONLY 3 to 4 terms, please USE THE TERMS WISELY!

Be prepared to speak briefly about your Paper Bag in class on Tuesday.  As we will lay them all out on the tables, we will see them all, collectively, as The Semiotics of the Paper Bag.


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