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{Writing itself is a mediation-just like images- and is subject to the same internal dialectic. In this way, it is not only externally in conflict with images but is also torn apart by an internal conflict. If it is the intention of writing to mediate between human beings and their images it can also obscure images instead of representing them and insinuate itself between human beings and their images. If this happens human beings become unable to decode their texts and reconstruct the images signified in them. If the texts, however, become incomprehensible as images, human beings’ lives become a function of their texts…Texts are then projected into the world out there, and the world is experienced, known, and evaluated as a function of these texts…

What am I doing when I try to decode texts encoded in characters? Am I decoding the meaning of the characters i.e. the sound conventions of a spoken language? Am I decoding the meaning of the words made of these characters? The meaning of the sentences made up of these words? Or do I have to look further – for the writer’s intentions, the cultural context behind them? What am I doing when I decode [paintings]? Am I decoding the meaning of the word ‘green’ i.e. a concept from the discourse of chemical theory?…When will I decide I’ve had enough decoding?… One would be drawn into an endless process since every level of decoding would reveal another one waiting to be decoded. Every symbol is just the tip of the iceberg in the ocean of cultural consensus and even if one got right to the bottom of decoding a single message, the whole cultural past and present would be revealed.}

Utah Snyder is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles.