SIGNS

W. G. Sebald's SignatureCeramic Flowers wrapped in cellophane at ChimayoBricked Windows at the Great Eastern Hotel LondonSign on wall of Great Eastern London - BedlamSign to Alec Girrard's TempleChanged Priorities sign in London

Signs abound in the ICI Ephemera Kabinett. More often than not, they pull double (even triple) duty as captured in one of the ICI’s maxims: ‘A sign is never just a sign.’ And as you will see in this sampling, a sign’s signification is almost always contingent on another sign (and then another). Sometimes the web of signification is available to all members of a culture, like the ceramic Calla lilies at a Chimayo memorial whose cellophane wrapper borrows the language of the roadside shrine. But often the sign is restricted, secret and sometimes even hidden in plain sight, like a pair of bricked in windows on the facade of the Great Eastern Hotel in London that announce the Masonic Temple behind their surfaces only to the initiated few. After years in the field, we have gotten better at recognizing signs but our skill in deciphering them is still fledgling, at best.

 

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