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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 46, Issue 1, 2018

Leticia Vitral, João Queiroz
Pages 64-89

The Epistemic Role of Intermedial Visual Artworks
An Analysis of the Photobooks Palast der Republik and Domesticidades

This paper presents, describes and analyses two photobooks: Palast der Republik and Domesticidades. We claim that, because of their highly iconic features, they can be regarded as epistemic artefacts (models) since they reveal information about their objects, as well as about their own morphological properties. The analysis focuses on (i) the kind of relations the photobooks establish with their respective objects (we claim that it is a mainly-iconic relation) and (ii) on the semiotic couplings that can be found in them – a type of interaction between semiotic resources (such as photographs, maps, written texts, illustrations, among others). We contextualize this analysis in relation to both a semiotic and an intermedial background. Further, we claim that the epistemic role of such artworks is directly related to their material and structural features that constrain the possibilities of manipulation and reasoning upon them. We conclude by presenting some of the information that was revealed by the manipulation of these photobooks, claiming that the semiotic-artefactual approach to models can be an epistemically interesting conceptual frame to thinking about artistic artefacts.

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