Ill Have A Sign With Extra Semiotics Please. Grazie

Shaquasia Myrie

While I’ve been out here, I’ve noticed some signs that literally stopped me in my tracks. I could not help but snap a shot of them. The first of these signs I noticed was behind the Prato train station, next to the University of Prato. It was of a man’s silhouette carrying a white bar. At first I thought it was a real sign, then later found out it was a tagged sign. “What kind of graffiti…” was the first thought that came to mind. I spotted this sign a few times again during my weekend trip in Rome weeks later and in Florence as well. This was the most common tagged sign I’ve came across. Florence seemed to have the most diverse tagged “do not enter” signs. My most recent visit to Florence was this past Wednesday for my Italian Art and Renaissance class. This is where I came across the man in the sign again. This time, he was hammering into the bar which had a jagged edge. At first I thought the jagged edge was caused through wear and tear over time. I took a closer look and saw the jagged bar was intentional and took on the shape of a geometric face. I had Doug snap a photo for me because I forgot my camera that day. I was the only epic fail as usual. I stayed behind in Florence after people left to head back to Campus for class. I was walking around with Carlos and Raven when I came across this sign with a police officer hugging the white bar in an affectionate way. One could tell it was a police officer because the silhouetted man was blue with white stripes and a hat to indicate an officer’s uniform.

Everyone is aware these signs mean “do not enter.” I found it very appealing that someone could manipulate its visual connotation while still concluding to the “do not enter” message. I myself have tried to come up with possible scenarios as to why the actions of the silhouetted man fits with this sign in particular:

I personally associated the man carrying the bar as a sign indicating men at work. Although it does not take on the traditional colors of construction signs, one would usually avoid places where men are at work carrying heavy items, hence “do not enter.” The man hammering into the bar can be viewed as a sculptor at work who needs to be left alone. The one with the police man took a little extra creativity to come up with a reasonable explanation. It could be a pun that suggests police love the part of their job that involves security and restricting people from certain areas. In relation to the other two scenarios, the man could have put on a police outfit in disguise to publicly expresses his love for this bar, an inanimate object. In this case, one would say he is crazy, and conclude to stay away. Again, do not enter.

Whoever tagged these signs seems to be creative and would probably approve of  me using my imagination to make a connection between these signs. Special thanks to Doug and Raven for the wonderful photos. Also Chuck who sent me the man carrying the bar via FB. I had a photo, but his was better, so I used it.









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