culture Philosophy

The Symbolic Vacuum of Nothing

In any sequence of symbols, experiences or other functional input to our various sensory apertures, the entity and events which bear the most unexpected or surprising data are those which can be said to carry the most substantive information content. In a world awash in a semiotic soup of aspirational novelty and atention-seeking advertisements, billboards, spam, entertainment and popular culture – the blind replication of simplicity and unsophisticated commercial exploitation tends to leaves us all desensitised and numb to the efferevescent sameness of it all. Where silence is as lose as a mute button or an off switch and disengagement is a trivial action, the mad dash to spruik and glean our attention serves an essentially alienating and isolating function.

I found myself in a public place in the last couple of days and an image frame caught my attention. It was clearly intended to contain some small poster and convey some bundle of assertions or facts regarding advertising or community interest but it was empty. There was a blank vanilla background and it was fascinating. How strange it is that in a world absolutely suffocating in signification and symbols that the absence of information captured my attention in a way that its presence rarely would. In an empty frame, the negation and material or perceptual inversion of information content is itself the difference that signifies information content and in this lies an interesting reflection.

What does not exist can still carry information content by negation or logical contradiction and in some sense indicates that the unknown, the unknowable and the yawning abyss of information entropy is an abstraction with gravity and very real concrete presence. This is the ubiquitous emptiness of logical discontinuity but is also, perhaps, a signifier of simple material entropy: the poster fell out of it’s frame.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.