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The images and sounds that issue from the box have a mmeaning2 for their receiver. They form a code, (let “code” be a system of symbols). The receiver can decodify the images and sounds and thus read a message, The Ti code is a new one. Western civilisation disposes basically of two types of codes: surface ones and linear ones. (Three-dimensional codes like sculp- ture and dance will not be considered.) Surface codes consist of images which depict their meaninge. (F.1. paintings and maps.) Linear codes con- sist of point-like elements forming a line, and they scan their meaning, (F.1, spoken language, alphabets and arithmetics.) Surface codes are read through “imagination”, linear ones through conceptualisation“. TV, (and film), has a code in which surfaces follow a linear structure. They can be read two ways. Like surfaces, (through “imagination”), and 11ke lines in which the point-like elements are surfaces, (through conceptualisation of images“ and imagination of concepts“). The fórst way of reading is the on ly one permitted by the present use of TV, and 18, in a sense, a return to analphabetism. (See my article “Iine and Surface”, in MAIN CURRENTS Jan.73)


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