15 March 2011

There is no meaning without context

Meaning embeds in context. The Great Wave off Kanagawa, likely the most prominent iconic Japanese painting in the West, meant one thing on Friday morning, another on Friday evening. My second supervisor said something in our supervision meeting last week that I suppose I tacitly knew, but hadn't heard explicitly: 'We don't know that the meaning of a text is contested until someone contests it.' Hokusai's Great Wave is now contested, burdened with a context that will likely stick in the mind for at least a generation.